IRIS ² is born: deal over new European satellites, critical for governmental telecommunication
The Renew Europe Group welcomes today’s inter-institutional agreement on EU secure connectivity programme, renamed IRIS², an ambitious plan to deploy an EU-owned constellation of telecommunications satellites by 2027. It will secure the Union’s sovereignty and autonomy by guaranteeing fewer dependencies on third-country infrastructure, and the provision of critical communication services where terrestrial networks are absent or disrupted, as observed, for instance, in Ukraine.
This future satellite constellation infrastructure will allow for synergies with private sector to develop commercial services and provide with high-speed internet and communication in all EU territory, including outmost regions where terrestrial and broadband connection remain scarce.
Moreover, this Renew Europe-led programme will boost the fostering of a completely new ecosystem of start-ups and SMEs, as well as the emergence of innovations and new services, and introduces for the first time strict sustainability criteria for heavy space activities, including launchers and satellites components.
The agreement provides an ambitious budget (2.4 Billions), that will be complemented with contributions from Member States via ESA, and private contributions.
MEP Christophe Grudler (Mouvement Démocrate, France), Rapporteur on the EU secure connectivity programme, declared:
« Today is an important day for the EU space policy. For the first time, the European Union will have its own telecommunication constellation, in particular in low orbits (LEO), the new frontier for telecommunication satellites. Moreover, we set a strong example of this constellation, as it will be a model in terms of space and environmental sustainability. Now it is time to build these new satellites, and prepare them for launch!».