The European Union has just detailed its plan to compete with Starlink. Basically, the EU wants to create its own “secure communication system”, and to do so they are going to spend (initially) 6,000 million euros.
In their official statement, they explain that they have already started a satellite-based connectivity system, together with the promotion of action for the management of space traffic that results in “a more digital Europe and resistant”.
Secure connectivity from space = bringing the Internet to communication dead zones
The European Commission cites the challenges brought about by increased international competition, let us remember that in recent years multiple satellite Internet initiatives have taken off. From the increasingly famous Starlink (which is already possible to book in Spain and will cost 99 euros per month), to projects like Amazon’s Kuiper, to the recently saved from bankruptcy: OneWeb.
With this plan they will seek to develop a service that offers uninterrupted and secure Internet access, especially to bring connection to “communication dead zones”. In the process, they seek to strengthen the resilience of the European Community
and its economic power.
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The two main objectives of the plan are:
- Ensuring the long-term availability of uninterrupted global access to secure and cost-effective satellite communication services. The protection of critical infrastructures, surveillance, external actions, crisis management and applications that are essential for the economy, security and defense of the Member States will be supported.
- Enable the provision of commercial services by the private sector that can enable access to advanced, reliable and fast connections to citizens and businesses across Europe, including in communication dead zones, ensuring cohesion between Member States .
The system will also provide connectivity in geographical areas of strategic interest, for example Africa and the Arctic.
This plan is a public-private initiative. The total cost is estimated at 6,000 million euros. The EU will contribute €2.4 billion from 2022 to 2027. The funding will come from different sources in the public sector (EU budget, Member States, contributions from the European Space Agency (ESA) and private sector investments.
It is an investment that would have a much higher return. The EU expects its development to add an added value of between €17 billion and €24 billion and additional jobs in the European space industry, together with other positive indirect effects derived .
Its development is scheduled for between 2023 and 2024. The initial phase of the service will be launched between 2025 and mid-2027, with the hope that by the end of 2027 the system will be fully operational.