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Digital TV Europe November/December 2010

Euro 50 > Leaders in broadband and pay-TV

Director of advanced technologies and innovation, Virgin Media

Romain Bausch President and CEO, SES

SES, the world’s largest commercial satellite operator, led by Romain Bausch, has seen a year of steady if not spectacular progress, posting revenue of €1.287 billion for the nine months to September, up 6.8% on the same period last year. The company’s reported EBITDA grew by 6.3% to €961.5 million, giving an EBITDA margin of 74.7%. Growth in the market for HD services has

continued to provide strong demand for SES Astra’s capacity in Europe. SES satel- lites globally were delivering 291 HD chan- nels, up from 234 in June. European opera- tion SES Astra accounts for 163 of those, up from 135 in June, with the expectation that the number of HD channels on Astra will pass the 200 mark by the end of the year. SES is also betting on 3D, with SES Astra launching an initiative to support the intro- duction of the technology in Europe. In a number of territories, including

one in South Wales and one in Berkshire, to show how an aerial fibre rollout can be used to cost-effectively bring next-generation access to the communities that lie beyond major metropolitan centres. It has been just great to see our trialists’ reactions to moving up from their current legacy world to 50Mbps broadband and HD and 3D video-on-demand.

Surprises of 2010 I was really pleased to see the government’s commitment to 100Mbps broadband. It’s an ambitious goal but it is criti- cal that the UK has a world-class digital infra- structure and we challenge ourselves to find innovative new ways to make that a reality.

Goals for next year Over recent years, I have been focused on developing Virgin Media’s broadband and digital TV services in the home, as well as looking at new approach- es to the expansion of our network. Over the next 12 months I would like to spend a lot more time focusing on the transformation of our customer’s digital lives when they are out and about.

Game-changing future development The leveraging of existing passive infrastructures –

poles and ducts – in order to take next genera- tion access beyond the major population cen- tres. Our agreement with Surf Telecoms to trial ultrafast broadband and digital TV over the existing electricity poles in Crumlin, Caerphilly, is the first use of an existing com- mercial infrastructure for this purpose. By working in partnership with companies such as the electricity distribution network opera- tors and BT Openreach, we can more rapidly and efficiently expand the reach of fibre optic networks to towns, villages and communities right across the UK.

Ambition as a youngster I have always been interested in design, in building things, particularly when it all comes together in a spectacular achievement – such as the first lunar landing which I found truly inspirational as a young man.

Favourite TV show X Factor! (Did I just admit to that in print?).

Life outside work With both of our children now at university, my wife and I have suddenly discovered we have the time and opportunity for concerts and weekends away. Fun!

Spain and central and eastern Europe, SES Astra’s satellite broadband platform, Astra2Connect, has had significant con- tract wins this year. Elsewhere in the world, SES has fully consolidated Canada’s Ciel Satellite into SES World Skies, while the former ProtoStar 2 satellite over south- east Asia has been integrated into the SES fleet as SES-7. SES is now well-positioned to meet its target of 5% annual growth for 2010-12, a period that is likely to see the switchover of analogue satellite in the key German market to digital. Bausch himself remains one of the indus-

try’s leading advocates. In January this year he became chairman of the European Satellite Operators Association, replacing Eutelsat’s outgoing CEO Giuliano Berretta.

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