Egypt-based satellite-TV provider Nilesat, which serves the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf, late last night launched Nilesat 201, a new orbiter that will transmit 300 additional television channels while bringing HDTV and 3D television to the region beginning next month.

The satellite, built French company Thales Alenia Space, rode aloft on an Ariane space launcher from a site on Korou, French Guyana. The new satellite also will transmit IPTV and broadband services.

 
According to the operator, Nilesat 201 will allow new channels to be delivered to 40 million households in the region, adding to the existing 560 TV and 100 radio channels already available.  Wide coverage reportedly is ensured as a result of uplink stations in Cairo, Dubai, Amman, Doha, Riyadh and Beirut.
 
Commented Anas El Fekky, Egypt’s Minister of Media, “This new satellite offers a tremendous opportunity to increase the availability on broadcasting and communications services in Egypt. We Egyptians are already proud to have one of the most diverse and vibrant media landscapes in the region, with over 500 independent newspapers, magazines and journals in the printed press alone. The Nilesat 201 will help us to bring even more choice and quality of media to the Egyptian people.”
 
He continued, “This step is important as it shows Egypt’s ability and desire to lead the entire region in media, as it does in other fields such as information technology, encompassing all new tools of globalization and communications.  Egypt will continue to play a pioneer role to propel the region to greater heights of modernity.”
 
General Ahmed Anis, CEO of Nilesat, added, “Nilesat 201 will make a significant contribution to boosting the development of the dynamic broadcasting markets in the Middle East and North Africa.”
 
The Nilesat 201 is Nilesat’s third satellite, developed in response to the “huge demand and market growth of TV channels in the MENA region,” the company said. The project cost around $237 million and has a life expectancy of some 15 years.

Built on a Spacebus 4000B2 platform, Nilesat 201 is fitted with 24 Ku-band and 4 Ka-band transponders. It will be positioned at 7 degrees West longitude. Weight at launch was about 3,200 kilograms, and it will generate 5.9 kW of power at end-of-life.

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