On the space broadband network, the European Union must ‘move at speed’


The European Commission confirms it needs its recently planned mega-constellation of satellites to provide an initial operation of some kind in the year 2024. The first goal is to plug broadband penetration gaps that ground infrastructure is unable to meet, but can fuel networks like self-driving vehicles later on. The project will mimic America’s Starlink as well as the OneWeb networks of the UK-Indian in several respects. Its scope is yet to be established entirely. Right now, a group of aerospace as well as telecoms firms is doing it. But Thierry Breton, who serves as the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, stated he needed to get the project underway as quickly as possible.

“My goal is to move very fast. And it would hence be right for the Commission to submit a proposition to the European Parliament as well as the Council this year so that we can be able to move concretely,” he informed European Space Conference. Work on a stable space-based communications system was launched several weeks ago as part of the preparation. The chosen consortium, including European satellite makers, operators as well as service providers, launch service providers and telco operators, will research the future design and implementation of this project.

“This will offer insights into the technological dimension, but also the framework of government, the funding, the projects, the exact scale. In April this year, I anticipate their first reviews.” After Galileo satellite-navigation constellation as well as the Copernicus project with its Earth observation Sentinel spacecraft, the safe communications system will be the next cornerstone space initiative to come out from the EU. Only in the broadest words have EU officials talked about what they hope to see from the current telecommunications program. They are talking of a combination of low, medium as well as geostationary satellites which are interlinked with the optical connectors using sophisticated quantum cryptography, as well as piggyback sensors which may also be used as models for aviation and shipping surveillance.

They claim that the must-have capacity to allow a variety of upcoming innovations, like self-driving cars, is quick, reliable, low-latency as well as space-borne connectivity. Europe requires such a capability if it wishes to remain competitive globally. In the first place, though, the primary incentive will be to fill the above “not spots” in the Member States where the ground infrastructure is unable to offer broadband services – believed to have been at least 5 million households. Pressed on prices, EU authorities told journalists that any calculation would have to wait to study the industrial consortium in the spring. Nevertheless, knowledge suggests it will be in the price bracket of billions of euros.


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