New Intelsat Satellite to Offer HD Coverage of Americas, Caribbean

Intelsat's IA-8 satellite, its most powerful to date, was successfully launched into space on June 23. Built by Space Systems/Loral, the bird will operate from 89 degree W longitude and offer landmass coverage to customers in the Americas, the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii. A substantial portion of the capacity on IA-8 was committed to customers prior to the satellite's launch.

The IA-8, which is set to begin service in August, features C, Ku and Ka-band transponders. It represents Intelsat's first Ka-band capacity in orbit--and reportedly is only the second commercial satellite in North America to have such capacity. IA-8 is also the first satellite in Intelsat's fleet to feature two high-powered beams specifically designed to provide complete zonal coverage of South America.

Intelsat said the 89 degree W location falls within the North American broadcast arc, offering broadcast customers a prime distribution platform for all 50 states. The new satellite is expected to serve broadcasters, government, private corporations, and other parties. The IA-8 also should relieve some current capacity constraints facing operators serving the U.S. market, and to support the growth of emerging services such as DTH (direct to home) distribution of HD cable programming.