Eutelsat Communication has selected Thales Alenia Space to build the EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite, which will boost satellite broadcasting resources in the Middle East and North Africa. The high-capacity satellite will be launched in 2015 to 8° West, joining satellites already operated at the adjacent 7° West position by Eutelsat and the Egyptian satellite company, Nilesat.

The EUTELSAT 8 West B satellite will be equipped with 40 operational Ku-band transponders designed primarily to serve DTH markets in North Africa and the Middle East. It will also introduce a C-band mission to 8° West, with 10 operational transponders connected to footprints covering the African continent and reaching west to South America.

To respond to the popularity of the 7/8° West neighbourhood, Eutelsat will redeploy an existing high-power Ku-band satellite to 8° West in 2013. This will increase resources in advance of the launch of EUTELSAT 8 West B, enabling more broadcasters to benefit from a prime neighbourhood.

"We are both pleased and proud to sign this important contract today with Eutelsat," said Jean Loic Galle, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Our teams will deploy the full range of their skills and expertise to construct this new satellite and support our customer's development. We thank Eutelsat for placing their trust in us. EUTELSAT 8 West B is the 25th satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat, and it will be the 74th satellite in the Spacebus family to enter service in the global space telecommunications market."

Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO said: “We want to ensure we are giving broadcasters the finest quality of service and headroom to grow their business. This new satellite programme will further equip us to deliver the highest quality of service at a video neighbourhood experiencing record demand for reaching TV homes across the Middle East and North Africa. We are also pleased to renew our confidence in Thales Alenia Space with this new order from their most state-of-the-art range of spacecraft.”