A group of European space and telecoms companies have come together to deploy the EU’s planned satellite constellation for broadband internet. The consortium plans to create a state-of-the-art satellite constellation that is interoperable with the terrestrial ecosystem. The IRIS2 project has approval from the EU Council of Ministers, and its aim is to provide seamless digital communication services worldwide.
The project wants to become independent of private alternatives, such as Elon Musk’s Starlink and Amazon’s Kuiper project, by developing public-private partnerships with European groups. The partnership includes Airbus Defense and Space, Deutsche Telekom, Eutelsat, Hisdesat, Hispasat, OHB, Orange, SES, Telespazio, and Thales. They plan to submit a joint application for the EU Commission’s call for tenders for the “Secure Connectivity Program”.
The project aims to provide “ultra-fast” and “highly secure” communication services with more than 170 satellites, primarily in low-earth orbit, by 2027. It is an ambitious project that requires a total investment of six billion euros. The EU has committed 2.4 billion euros from public funds, while the remaining 3.6 billion euros are expected to come from the private sector.
The consortium aims to promote cooperation between all European space actors, promoting strategic autonomy for the EU. The IRIS2 project wants to use synergy effects between state and commercial infrastructures to offer commercial services that bridge the digital divide between European territories.
The alliance wants to encourage small and medium-sized companies to join the project, in line with the Commission’s wishes. The IRIS2 project aims to increase Europe’s global reach and competitiveness as a space and digital power in the world market.