SES has increased the reach of its Astra Satellite System in the Benelux markets at 23.5° East by more than 140,000 households to 870,000, an annual growth of 20%, the satellite operator has announced.In total, 1.1 million homes in the Benelux are today receiving their programmes from Astra. Of those, 80% are receiving programmes from the 23.5° and 19.2° degrees East orbital positions while the other 20% are served from 19.2° East only. SES said the growth of the 23.5° East location in the Netherlands and Belgium had been fuelled by the launch of Dutch regional channels and various HD channels operated by M7 Group-owned providers CanalDigitaal and TV Vlaanderen. The orbital position is also used for the transmission of the Luxembourg TV channels.Norbert Hölzle, senior vice-president commercial Europe, said: “We are very happy with the outcome of the SES Satellite Monitor. It confirms that, in only five years time, Astra 23.5° East has firmly established itself as the leading and fastest growing satellite position for the Benelux region, in conjunction with the Astra 19.2° East position. This great success in a region formerly dominated by terrestrial infrastructures is the result of a very close and solid cooperation between all market partners involved: M7 Group, free-TV broadcasters, the satellite equipment resellers, installers and SES.”Separately, pan-European broadcast group RTL has inked a deal with SES for extra capacity. It will use the capacity at the 19.2° East orbital position for a widened high-definition channel offer and to transmit the Austrian versions of its current HD channel line-up on the AustriaSat platform.