Complementing Copernicus, Galileo, EGNOS, and the forthcoming GOVSATCOM, the European Connectivity Initiative will benefit a broad range of sectors, including road and maritime transport, air traffic and control, autonomous vehicle development as well Internet of Things (IoT). It will also open up more opportunities for synergies between the already existing components of the EU Space Programme that can benefit maritime surveillance or even space situational awareness.
“I want to position Europe as THE hub of space entrepreneurship in the world”. With this remark Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, kicked off the Q&A session with SMEs and start-ups during the Secure Connectivity Initiative online event organized by DG-DEFIS on 14 June 2021. The landscape of the space industry is being reshaped as we are entering a new era in the field of satellite communications. The use of new frequency bands, optical communications and quantum technology allows for the development of new innovative products and software. Europe is gifted with a satcom industry that has the capacity to make the necessary technological leap while at the same time New-Space entrepreneurs are able to think outside the box and create new services that can benefit users.
Europe fit for the digital age
The EU is ready to harness this momentum of digitisation and make Europe fit for the digital age under its new European Connectivity Initiative. The Secure Connectivity Initiative, announced in early 2020 by Breton during his keynote at the 13th European Space Conference will be a multi-orbital project, combining the benefits offered by LEO, GEO and MEO constellations. It is set to provide secure communication services to the EU and its Member States as well as broadband connectivity for European citizens, private companies and governmental authorities. This new initiative aims to put an end to dead zones, giving high broadband speed to everyone in Europe and some areas of Africa through a resilient & ultra-secure space and ground based system.
Secure satellite communications infrastructures for Europe
The EU Agency for the Space Programme, is already actively involved in building secure satellite communications infrastructures for Europe through the coordination of the first phase of GOVSATCOM on which the new secure connectivity initiative will be based. Complementing Copernicus, Galileo, EGNOS and the forthcoming GOVSATCOM, this new EU flagship programme, will benefit a broad range of sectors, including road and maritime transport, air traffic and control as well Internet of Things (IoT). Such a project will also open up more opportunities for synergies between the already existing components of the EU Space Programme. By combining GNSS data and satcom networks we can significantly improve space situational awareness. Likewise, the synergies between EO, SatNav and SatCom can be useful for fisheries control and maritime surveillance. With the addition of the Secure Connectivity Initiative, the EU is ramping up the digitisation of its society and economy while looking to make space data more accessible and scalable to all interested entities. This will ensure reliance on Europe’s own space resources and infrastructure and therefore strengthen its digital sovereignty. EUSPA will be supporting the EU’s digital transition by giving incentives to new entrants in order to scale-up the creation of innovative start-ups. This will be done through instruments such as the CASSINI initiative, Horizon Europe calls and other innovation competitions.