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EU pitches broadband satellite plan

2022-02-16 18:16 by
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The European Commission has approved plans for a €6 billion satellite internet system to compete with the likes of Amazon and SpaceX despite previous objections from its internal watchdog. The European Commission plans to spend 2.4 billion euros from its budget, while the rest would come from EU countries and industry.

Development could start next year with first service and quantum cryptography testing by 2025. The entire constellation could be ready for use by 2028, the French commissioner said. The plan is now subject to discussions by EU countries and in the European Parliament.

The plan splices together the bloc's defense policy ambitions with its broader economic agenda on boosting strategic autonomy by offering an alternative to Starlink, a commercial internet network developed by Elon Musk's SpaceX, and the U.K.'s OneWeb constellation.

The signals from the new system would be encrypted and offered to Europe as well as Africa to give that continent an alternative to Chinese-built infrastructure. It would also provide a back-up in case of cyber attacks on broadband networks.The EU already has Galileo, a global navigation system, and Copernicus, which is used for earth observation.

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