After being granted a license for two satellites in August by Ofcom, the group is launching its first advanced small satellite, which will be used to provide services such as broadband, IPTV and HDTV for broadcasters, consumers and businesses. It will cover 22 countries in Europe, including the UK.
The estimated cost of the launch in 2008 is£20m which Avanti expects to be debt project financed. The satellite will have a lifetime of at least 12 years.
Avanti bosses believe that the satellite launch will address the "shortage of suitable satellite capacity, given the pending upgrade of digital television services to the HDTV format, which consumes four times as much bandwidth as ordinary digital TV."
It will also address the problem identified by the European Commission, which predicts that large parts of the European population will not be adequately served by terrestrial broadband. The first satellite launched by Avanti will be capable of providing up to 170,000 broadband customers in Europe, or broadcast up to 1,000 digital TV channels.
David Williams, chief executive of Avanti, added: "New satellite businesses are very rare and tend to be large scale. There are strong synergies with our core business of satellite television broadcasting to businesses, since we will be able to offer triple play services from space - media, data and VoIP. This also makes it easier to extend our screenmedia services around Europe."