Tooway prepares for debut

Eutelsat and the satellite broadband networking systems vendor ViaSat are to launch Tooway, a satellite Internet service for residential users based on the DOCSIS Internet over cable standard.

From the end of September the service will be available in Germany, from two launch customers the (Satellite Internet) service providers Internetagentur Schott and Teles. Other, selected European markets are to follow before the end of the year. New distribution deals are set to be announced at IBC.

Schott announced three subscription levels. The 512 kbit/s down/100 kbit/s up service will cost €29,95 per month, the 1024/128 kbit/s tier will cost €39,95, and the top tier at 2048/156 kbit/s will cost €89,90 per month, all prices are for a 24 month subscription, without the 24 month contract term the subscriptions cost an additional € 10 per month. The equipment including installation will cost € 399, or € 549 without the 24 month contract. An activation fee of € 99 is also levied.

Tooway will be available in Europe via Ka-band and Ku-band capacity on Eutelsat satellites. Hub services will be provided by the satellite operator’s Skylogic broadband affiliate, and broadband satellite modems connected to sub one-metre antennas by ViaSat.

The service will be provided via Ka-band capacity on Eutelsat’s HOT BIRD 6 satellite at 13 degrees East and will also be available via Ku-band capacity on the EUROBIRD 3 satellite. The Ka and Ku-band hubs with equipment supplied by ViaSat to manage Tooway are now fully commissioned and ready for service at Skylogic’s SkyPark teleport in Turin, Italy.

The satellite terminal’s outdoor unit consists of a 67cm Ka-band dish or a 96cm Ku-band dish. It allows for downloadspeeds upto 4 Mbit/s. The included 2 Watt amplifier for transmission to the satellite, enables a return path of just over 1 Mbit/s.

However the actual service levels offer will be lower than this. Three different service grades will be provided in Ka-band and Ku-band with the initial offer delivering maximum downlink speeds of up to 2048 kbps and maximum uplink speeds of up to 384 kbps.

From 2010 onwards the service should be available through a dedicated Ka-band spotbeam satellite at the 13 degrees east orbital slot. This should allow Eutelsat to offer higher speeds that the currently announced maximum download speed of 2 Mbit/s, as the satellite’s capacity will be enlarged and dedicated to internet access services.

The operator believes its “Tooway approach to satellite networking will at least change the price/performance paradigm for consumer satellite Internet access in Europe”. The system is based on ViaSat’s SurfBeam system, also used by Wildblue in North America and Intelsat for a platform it operates for Orbit.

The service compete’s with SES Astra’s ASTRA2Connect service, that offers private users without access to terrestrial broadband services, with speeds up to 1024/128 Kbit/s, for E 49,95 per month plus sign-up fee, terminal and installation cost.

Eutelsat and Viasat first announced a co-development deal for the service over four years ago. In the meantime, the vendor has supplied Eutelsat with its Linkway and Linkstar systems for the higher-end DSAT and DSTAR services. The latter is also available on Ka-band, and using Eutelsat’s Skyplex on-board switching and processing to move data from one terminal to another without intervention of a terrestrial hub.