First-ever Internet-ready satellite launched

Boeing's new 376HP model satellite -- "e-BIRD" -- was successfully launched earlier this week. The satellite was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket out of French Guiana on September 27, and is said to be the first ever specifically engineered for two-way broadband communications.
With a configuration of multiple spotbeams, each providing high-power regional coverage, e-BIRD can contribute to national and pan-European broadband programmes such as the European Union's e-Europe initiative that aims for all schools, universities and businesses to have access to the Internet by 2005. It is estimated that a quarter of the population and between 10 to 40 per cent of Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union and candidate countries do not have access to broadband today.
link (via pho, thanks JP!)