New SES Americom Bird goes Operational


SES Americom's newest satellite, AMC-21, is now fully operational and delivering both video and data for broadcasters and broadband service providers, including anchor tenant PBS.

PBS has shifted its complete programming lineup to AMC-21 as part of its Next Generation Interconnection System (NGIS). It is using the high-powered Ku-band bird to distribute both high-definition and SD content to some 356 public television stations. Primary PBS content delivery was provided by AMC-1 and AMC-3 satellites prior to AMC-21.

Other customers for the AMC-21 bird, which features particularly good coverage over the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, include maritime broadband users, oil and gas companies, and the U.S. government.

The increase in high-definition programming, particularly coverage of sports like college football, continues to drive SES Americom's business, says Bryan McGuirk, president of media services for SES Americom, which is also transitioning all of Showtime's program distribution to HD this fall.

SES Americom operates 15 satellite domestically and is part of global satellite giant SES, which has 39 satellites overall. McGuirk says that SES is continuing to grow, and notes that it has eight new satellites under construction today.

"We believe we're a growth industry, as nobody can deliver multipoint HD like satellite," McGuirk says.