Vivacom and Eutelsat Group launch ground station

Vivacom has launched a new earth station that will support Eutelsat’s OneWeb business.
Photo credit: United Group Vivacom

Vivacom, part of the United Group, the telecommunications and media services provider in South-eastern Europe, and Eutelsat Group have announced the commercial launch of their ground station in Bulgaria. This fourth-of-its-kind facility in Europe and one of 35 already operating in the world, will enable expanded communications services for Eutelsat Group’s low Earth orbit (LEO) connectivity services. A year ago, Vivacom announced that it started the construction of the station of the satellite operator OneWeb, which since September this year merged with the French Eutelsat and now operates under the name Eutelsat Group.

The project is being implemented at Vivacom’s site in Stara Zagora municipality, where it will provide additional jobs in the region for the next 10 years. It will also put Stara Zagora on the world map of space technology and communications.

Nikolay Andreev, CEO of Vivacom, said: “We are happy that, in just 1 year, we were able to launch this important project, which will bring long-term benefits to business and society in our country. We remain true to our strategy to continue investing, innovating, and offering high-quality products and services based on the most modern technologies, which deservedly strengthen Vivacom’s place on the international map in this sector. We believe that, with the right strategic vision, targeted investments and high expertise of our team, we can set standards on a global scale and attract more and more international technology companies ready to invest in Bulgaria.”

The ground station consists of 18 antennas and a mini data centre that connects the LEO satellites to the optical network and data centres in Bulgaria and Europe. Construction began in late 2022 and, despite the adverse weather conditions, was completed in May 2023, and was followed by a successful testing-and-commissioning procedure.

Zhivko Todorov, the Mayor of Stara Zagora, added: “42 years after Stara Zagora made headlines with its contribution to the first Bulgarian artificial satellite ‘Intercosmos Bulgaria 1300’, this project puts our city back on the map of the global space industry. With open arms, we welcome the investment in this remarkable satellite communications project, knowing that it will not only stimulate the development of our city but also contribute to digital inclusion throughout Eurasia.”

Massimiliano Ladovaz, Chief Operations Officer, Eutelsat Group, stated: “We extend our gratitude to Vivacom for their collaboration and assistance in establishing an additional ground station for our LEO network. We are steadily advancing towards providing global connectivity services, and this new site represents another significant stride toward achieving our overarching goal. Vivacom not only brings a wealth of telecommunications expertise but also invaluable local knowledge, making them an essential partner.”