All Europe satellite plans for the Internet. Giuseppe Gagliano’s article
In an effort to bolster Europe’s strategic autonomy, the European Commission this month announced plans to build a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) secure satellite internet system.
The goal is to provide reliable and fast internet across Europe and the world, reduce communication dead zones and improve cohesion between EU member states.
The plan complements the EU’s defense policy ambitions with its economic interests in promoting strategic autonomy by providing an alternative to Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink with 42,000 satellites planned, Jeff Bezos’s Kuiper network with 3,200 planned satellites and the government’s OneWeb network British with 650 satellites planned.
The constellation of satellites proposed by the European Union is also designed to provide communication in the areas of strategic interest of the European Union, such as Africa and the Arctic.
The system will be funded with a contribution of €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) from 2022 to 2027, with other funding sources including European Union member states, the European Space Agency and private sector investment.
Development of the system could begin next year, with the first quantum encryption and service by 2025, and the system could be ready for use by 2028. The plan is now under discussion by EU countries and the European Parliament.
Europe’s ambitious online satellite program is in line with its upcoming strategic plan Compass, which sets out its defense priorities and aims to create a joint army by 2025.
Part of this plan is to create a new crisis response system that deals with space threats and fends off hybrid cyber attacks. This need was highlighted by last year’s alleged Russian cyberattacks aimed at stealing data and spreading disinformation among MEPs, government officials, journalists and citizens.
Moreover, the shift of the United States towards Asia could be a factor in Europe’s drive to have its own constellation of Internet satellites. This shift in the strategic focus of the United States means that it is not likely to be involved in large-scale conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, leaving Europe responsible for managing crises in these turbulent neighborhoods.
Since satellites are the center of gravity for military operations today, it makes more sense for Europe to have its own military satellites, rather than relying on the satellites of the United States.
Ultimately, the European Internet Satellite Constellation Program is linked to its broader goals of strategic autonomy. While Europe has occasionally complained about its dependence on US security guarantees and its secondary status under NATO, it has not until recently considered acquiring the capabilities, decision-making structures, and strategic culture to defend its own interests independently.
However, the democratic decay and decline of the United States, the rise of China and the emergence of Russia, forced Europe to rethink its position on security and international affairs.
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