Luxembourg, 24 October 2011 - SES S.A. (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) today announced that its new ASTRA 1N satellite has entered commercial service at the orbital position of 28.2 degrees East.
ASTRA 1N was built by Astrium on the Eurostar E3000 platform and is equipped with 52 transponders in the Ku frequency band. The satellite was successfully launched on board an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, on 6 August 2011. It had a launch mass of 5,325 kg and is the fourth Eurostar satellite in the 49 satellite-strong SES fleet.
ASTRA 1N greatly enhances the flexibility of the SES satellite fleet at the orbital slot 28.2 degrees East over Europe. ASTRA 1N is notably being used by Channel 4 and ITV. The new satellite will also allow SES to offer its satellite-based broadband service ASTRA2Connect via 28.2 degrees East and thus complement its service offer from the 23.5 degrees East position. ASTRA2Connect is Europe's largest satellite broadband network with more than 80,000 end users
Today, some frequencies on Astra 1N are powered, but there are no channels available from Astra 1N as yet.
However SES Astra have confirmed that
C4 and ITV will start on 1N in the coming days. This will be completely transparent to consumers as there will be no change in frequencies.
What can be said is that C4HD will be defintely moving from Eurobird1 to 1N.
And there are rumours about Film4hd, E4hd and M4hd becoming free to air and, in the case of Film4HD, finally on satellite, on the same C4HD frequency - however nothing has been confirmed by Channel 4.
As for ITV, you can probably safely say that the "free to view" versions of ITV1 on freq 11973 and 12402 that currently require a sky card to view will also move FTA and move from their Astra 2 south beams to Astra 1N.
And, although nothing has been said, there are strong rumours about the "five channels", apart from FiveHD, moving from their current ASra 2 frequencies to Astra 1N and also becoming FTA and no longer sky card required.
Astra 1N Reception
Earlier this week C4HD appeared on Astra 1N. I assume this was a test of the satellite and frequency. The channels appered for a few hours in the clear and free to air. However, after a few hours the channel became encrypted and unavailable.
C4HD frequency on Astra 1N is:
11127.00 V DVB-S2 8PSK 22000 2/3
channel named 21200
The signal is currently encrypted.
This cannot be tuned manually on a Sky receiver or a standard definition FTA box.
The reception for this frequency is not as bad as first thought. If this is indeed on Astra 1N's UK spot beam, then it is not very restrictive, and looks to be avaialble on smaller 80cm to 1m satellite dishes on the Valencia area and Costa Blanca areas of Spain. That is assuming that the satellite power is not reduced, meaning the reception is also reduced.
But from recent reception reqpoers it looks like those in Eastern Europe will be the ones that may well struggle more than before with channels that
migrate onto Astra 1N.