European satellite operator Eutelsat has decided to pull out of its side of the funding of Viasat-3 EMEA, currently being built for the US satellite communications firm Viasat by Boeing as part of a “constellation” of three satellites in geostationary Earth orbit (GEO). Instead, the firm has decided to order the building of its own satellite called Konnect VHTS (Very High Throughput Satellite) for its European broadband services. Thales Alenia Space has now been awarded the contract for this deal.
In March 2017, Eutelsat and Viasat’s relationship seemed to be coming on swimmingly with Viasat acquiring a 49% stake in the Euelsat Ka-Sat spacecraft covering Europe. The idea was that Eutelsat would take a reciprocal share in the new US$600 million 1 terabit per second capacity Viasat 3 EMEA satellite, as part of a complete mobile communications system servicing mobile civil airline users. This never happened, however, and negotiations broke down over which company could claim the revenues for which satellite.
Eutelsat went on to order its new Konnect VHTS satellite after concluding long-term deals to sell this capacity to mobile terrestrial user Orange as well as Thales.