Telekom Austria Launches Broadband Communications via Satellite
Aflenz, Austria — Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; VSE: TKA) today launches its latest product, SkyMultiMedia, offering ADSL-like broadband data connections via satellite transmission. Successful trials of the technology in Austrian schools have proven that SkyMultiMedia is an effective way to offer high bandwidth data connectivity to areas without current access to broadband communications.
Telekom Austria has previously offered fast Internet access only via fixed lines, though satellites have been used as a means of transmission since 1976. “Our broadband technology has now taken us into space,” comments Rudolf Fischer, CTO of Telekom Austria. “We can now use satellites not only for international telephony, but also for corporate networks and broadcasting services — they are the best technical means of transmitting and disseminating information comprehensively across countries and are therefore ideally suited for broadband data.”
“Telekom Austria now deploys satellites not only for traditional services, but also offers a comprehensive multimedia communications system. With satellite communications we can ensure rapid telecommunications with blanket coverage and a flexible transmission system,” said Fischer. “In Austria we use satellite communications to complement our ADSL network. Abroad, we are focusing our efforts on this high-speed technology to serve customers in areas that are not currently able to access broadband services.”
Revenues 2000: ATS 120 Million — ORF, the Billa Group and AT&S as customers
In the year 2000 Telekom Austria achieved revenues of ATS 120 million in this market segment. Among the many customers of Telekom Austria that successfully used satellite services for broadcasting or corporate networks were ORF (for broadcasting), the Billa Group for its in-store program “Radio Max” and AT&S for its corporate network.
SkyMultiMedia — ADSL from the Sky for Unlimited Applications
SkyMultiMedia, the new, interactive product for satellite communications by Telekom Austria AG, is primarily used for sending large amounts of data, such as is needed for multimedia transmissions or broadcasts.
“There are currently approximately 10,000 Austrian firms with offices abroad that are potential target groups for our product. SkyMultiMedia is particularly targeted at countries lacking adequate telecommunications infrastructure,” explains Friedrich Krajnik, head of the International Infrastructure and Satellite Communications unit at Telekom Austria, “With SkyMultiMedia all national and international locations of a company can be contacted simultaneously, or, for example, a company can offer training sessions via its own internal network. All employees of an international company can therefore be updated simultaneously.”
SkyMultiMedia guarantees quick Internet or Intranet access for its users and makes it possible to distribute content to a random number of users without having to utilize complex networks and countless routers. Moreover, the new satellite communication product has access to streaming services, such as Business-TV or Interactive Distance Learning.
SkyMultiMedia is based on IP-oriented systems, and can even be operated without connection to an existing terrestrial network, integrated into an existing Intranet system, directly connected to the Internet or a combination of all three. The system behind SkyMultiMedia is both simple and innovative: Downstream (for distribution purposes) SkyMultiMedia uses a satellite channel, and upstream (return direction) it uses another media channel, be it an Internet connection, a traditional telephone line or — as for downstream — a satellite channel.
Successful Pilot Project: e-schools Becomes Reality
In collaboration with the Institute for Telecommunications Engineering at the Technical University in Graz, and the Institute of Computer Sciences at the University of Salzburg, Telekom Austria is currently working on projects to deliver broadband satellite technology.
The research has already led to a pilot project successfully implemented last year in cooperation with the Education Highway Innovationszentrum fur Schule und Neue Technologie GmbH (situated at the Padagogische Akademie Linz) and ten schools in Vienna, Upper Austria and Burgenland: Teaching videos, which were needed at all schools simultaneously due to the teaching curriculum, could simply be distributed via satellite. The videos were played digitally at a central location and were broadcast via satellite — the schools taking part in the project could simply download the data by means of a user code. The notion of the physical archive that takes up many square meters of storage room will soon be a thing of the past. A further benefit of the product is the administrative savings that can be made due to the uncomplicated and “paperless” access to the data.
“The system was very successful in testing,” resumes Friedrich Krajnik, “We plan to increasingly put it into practice within the framework of data updates.” The advantage of this newly adapted satellite system lies in the fact that the data can be received almost exactly like a television signal, which means a very economic form of data broadcasting.
Fusion of Telecommunications & Education
The education sector is currently undergoing an enormous change, with virtual schools and cyber universities becoming important components of the education system, and the launch of e-studies soon to become reality. “This development is going to produce almost inexhaustible opportunities and possibilities,” says Fischer. “Distances and geographic borders will no longer play a role. Cooperation between educational institutions and the telecommunications sector will be inevitable.”