It’s believed that Ka-Sat @9E using Ka-Band will the satellite for RTE NL’s Saorsat Service. This will be the first Ka-Band Satellite TV service in Europe. The innovative design which has been proven in the WildBlue service for Internet in the USA will allow RTE, TV3 and TG4 to be un-encrypted, Free To Air (FTA). This would not be possible on 28.2E Satellites used for Sky and Freesat. Saorsat will require a separate dish and new type of LNB compared to Sky or Freesat reception.

kasat-art2-sm-bFollowing the successful completion of all scheduled manoeuvres since launch, the KA-SAT satellite is now positioned at its definitive location in geostationary orbit at 9° East.

via Eutelsat and detailed Press Release PDF

Eutelsat also confirmed full deployment of the solar panels, giving a total wing span of almost 40 metres, and the deployment of the four antennas which will deliver reach of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin via 82 spotbeams with each spotbeam delivering total capacity of 900 Mbps (450 Mbps each direction). These will support services needing high throughput and quality including regional television and newsgathering.

The satellite’s payload was activated on 8 January, enabling what the operator claims as Europe’s first high throughput satellite to begin a series of in-orbit tests, which will be followed by the final phase of integrated validation of the satellite with the network of ground stations that will connect to the Internet backbone. Eutelsat says that commercial entry into service is on track for the end of May 2011.

Eutelsat will also drive the development of satellite-based consumer broadband services with triple-play capability, by combining broadband services in the Ka-band, through KA-SAT, with the reception of TV channels in the Ku-band. In order to facilitate the availability of high-performance triple-play equipment at competitive prices.

Since RTE NL’s Saorsat on the Irish Spot does not use the Internet Gateways and Earth Stations, but likely a dedicated RTE uplink with two carriers (two virtual Transponders to match the two PBX DTT Multiplexes), it may be on a different timescale, perhaps a week or so earlier or later.  RTE NL will initally use less than 50Mbps of the 900Mbps capacity of the Irish Spot.