British satellite operator Avanti is set to launch its fourth satellite, bringing 28GHz of Ka band connectivity to Europe and Africa.
The operator has signed a €261 million deal with the Orbital Science Corporation, which built its Hylas 2 satellite, to build the vehicle.
The Hylas 4 satellite will launch during the first quarter of 2017 and have 66 fixed beams positioned over Africa and Europe, in addition to four steerable beams that could bring extra coverage to Latin America and Africa.
Avanti said the new capacity could serve its existing telecoms and media customers, as well as bring new coverage to different markets. The satellite will be launched by the Arianespace launch agency, which has worked with Avanti with its two other satellites. Avanti's third will go live next year.
Satellites are increasingly being seen as a way to bring connectivity to new areas, with airlines using them to launch Wi-Fi services on their aircraft. Facebook has identified satellites and drone technology as a means of connecting those without internet as part of its internet.org project.
David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti, said: "With commercial services expected to launch in 2017, Avanti has overwhelmingly the most powerful, broad and resilient Ka band coverage of Europe Middle East and Africa. Now that we are successfully selling services to the biggest telecommunications and media companies in our region, we have improving visibility over how we will continue to activate the underlying market demand on a large scale. This satellite is designed based on the requirements those customers have given us.”