company_name = Eutelsat S.A.
company_type =
foundation = 1985
location = Paris
key_people = Giuliano Berretta (CEO)
industry = Satellite communication
homepage = []

Eutelsat S.A. is a French-based satellite provider. Providing coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, it is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues.

Eutelsat’s satellites are used for broadcasting over 2,500 television and 1000 radio stations to more than 164 million cable and satellite homes. They also serve requirements for TV contribution services, corporate networks, mobile positioning and communications, Internet backbone connectivity and broadband access for terrestrial, maritime and in-flight applications. Eutelsat is headquartered in Paris. Eutelsat Communications Chairman of the Board and (CEO) is Italian Giuliano Berretta.

Its main craft have traditionally operated from 4 positions, each separated by three degrees of the Clarke belt - 7, 10, 13 and 16°E; although more positions are now operated.


Eutelsat commercialises capacity on 23 satellites located in geosynchronous orbit between 15 degrees West and 70.5 degrees East.

Former satellites


Video Applications Professional Data Networks Broadband Services
Direct broadcasting of TV and radio Private networks IP backbone connectivity
Cable distribution Data broadcasting Virtual Private Networks
Satellite newsgathering Business TV, videoconferencing Broadband access on ground, at sea, in-flight
Programme exchanges Mobile services (messaging, positioning) Multicasting and IP content distribution


The European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Eutelsat) was originally set up in 1977 as an intergovernmental organisation (IGO) to develop and operate a satellite-based telecommunications infrastructure for Europe. It started operations with the launch of its first satellite in 1983.

Initially established to address satellite communications demand in Western Europe, Eutelsat rapidly developed its infrastructure to expand coverage to additional markets, such as Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, and the Middle East, the African continent, and large parts of Asia and the Americas from the 1990s.

Eutelsat was the first satellite operator in Europe to broadcast television channels direct-to-home. It developed its premium neighbourhood of five Hot Bird satellites in the mid-1990s to offer capacity that would be able to attract hundreds of channels to the same orbital location, appealing to widespread audiences for consumer satellite TV.

With the general liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in Europe, the IGO’s operations and activities were transferred to a private company called Eutelsat S.A. in July 2001.

In April 2005, the principal shareholders of Eutelsat S.A. grouped their investment in a new entity (Eutelsat Communications), which is now the holding company of the Group owning 95.2% of Eutelsat S.A. on October 6th, 2005.

Recent news

A recently-leaked unpublished conversation, allegedly by an un-named Eutelsat employee, said that Eutelsat suppressed independent Chinese-language TV station NTDTV to satisfy Beijing. [Reporters Without Borders] calls on Giuliano Berretta, the CEO of the European satellite company Eutelsat, to quickly reverse its decision to suspend independent Chinese-language broadcaster NTDTV’s use of Eutelsat’s W5 satellite to broadcast to Asia.

Eutelsat claimed it was forced to suspend NTDTV (New Tang Dynasty Television) on 16 June because of a technical problem, but in a recorded conversation, an employee of Eutelsat told a reporter pretending to represent the Chinese government that it was a deliberate, politically-motivated decision.

“The real reason for the decision to suppress NTDTV exposes how Eutelsat operates in China,” Reporters Without Frontiers said. “The company’s credibility is at stake and we urge its shareholders to intervene as quickly as possible so that NTDTV can resume broadcasting on this satellite. If that is not done, none of the TV companies that are Eutelsat clients will ever be sure they could not also be arbitrarily disconnected one day because of their content.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “NTDTV’s broadcasts irked the Chinese government because, thanks to this satellite, they could be freely received in tens of millions of Chinese homes. Their suspension just a few weeks ahead of the Olympic Games looks like a favour provided by Eutelsat with the aim of obtaining new deals. Eutelsat tried to drop NTDTV once before, in 2005, but an international campaign forced it to sign a new long term contract.”

In a recorded conversation on 23 June with an interlocutor the employee thought was a Chinese Propaganda Department official, a Eutelsat representative in Beijing said:

“It was our company’s CEO in France who decided to stop NTDTV’s signal. (...)We could have turned off any of the transponders. (...) It was because we got repeated complaints and reminder from the Chinese government. (...) Two years ago, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television kept saying the same thing over and over: ‘Stop that TV station before we begin to talk.’

Reporters Without Borders is posting a transcript of this conversation on its website ( and it has an audio recording that is available to the media.

Ever since NTDTV was launched in February 2002, the Chinese government has been trying to get its broadcasts suppressed by pressuring satellite operators and governments.


* en Guy Lebègue, (trad. Robert J. Amral), « Eutelsat II: OK For West-to-East Service! », in "Revue aerospatiale", n°73, November 1990.

External links

* [ Eutelsat S.A.]
* [ GLOBCOS NetWorks GmbH - Switzerland]


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