EU aims to end Africa’s Wi-Fi dead zones with satellite scheme

A new multibillion-euro EU communication satellite network can cut out internet blackspots across Europe and also in Africa, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said Wednesday.

Speaking at an event to launch the EU’s space program running to 2027, Breton said a third major EU satellite constellation was needed to follow up on the Galileo geo-location network and the Copernicus earth observation program.

“[The new satellites will] put an end to dead zones, giving access to high speed broadband to everyone in Europe, but also potentially in Africa,” he said of the initiative. “We will move fast on this project.”

EU countries have not yet agreed to finance such a plan so Breton is lobbying capitals to stump up funding. The Paris-based European Space Agency could also help cover the cost, he has previously said.

Breton commissioned a feasibility study to assess options for a satellite project to rival SpaceX’s Starlink, the U.K.’s OneWeb and other similar initiatives that will provide space-based commercial internet service.

But the French commissioner recently told POLITICO he wanted a second study this summer to flesh out how such a network would include cutting-edge security features and quantum computing systems to put it a step ahead of the competition.

“The power to connect is and will remain essential,” Breton told EU space policymakers Wednesday. “This is why Europe must position itself and build a European state-of-the-art, autonomous and secured space-based connectivity system.”

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