The Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a regulation establishing the EU’s secure connectivity programme for the period 2023-2027.
Providing secure communication services to member states…
The programme sets goals for the European Union to deploy an EU satellite constellation called ‘IRIS2’ (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite), which will enable secure communication services by 2027.
Cyberattacks and natural disasters can lead to the breakdown of terrestrial communication networks. The establishment of this constellation will provide for a better connected critical infrastructure and high-speed and resilient independent satellite communication services.
The programme will provide governmental services covering critical infrastructure protection, situational awareness, and support for external actions and crisis management. All of these services will improve the EU’s resilience.
…and facilitating broadband access for all users
The programme is not aimed merely at benefiting government bodies and EU institutions, but also enables the provision of commercial services by the private sector, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of European industry.
The programme is linked to the Commission’s proposal on the EU’s Global Gateway Strategy. It will enable the provision of affordable internet access everywhere in Europe and will provide secure connectivity over geographical areas of strategic interest, such as the Arctic region and Africa.
EU strategic autonomy
The programme is particularly important with regard to low Earth orbits which are increasingly occupied by third-country mega-constellations, with EU operators facing challenges due to the capital-intensive nature of such projects. The secure connectivity programme is therefore important as a means of increasing the EU’s resilience and its strategic autonomy in space and on the ground.
The initiative will benefit from the expertise of the European industrial space industry, both from the well-established industrial players and the New Space ecosystem. The programme builds on the GOVSATCOM component of the EU space programme. It will take into account synergies with the other components of the EU space programme, such as the Galileo (satellite navigation) and Copernicus (Earth observation) systems, as well as space situational awareness capacities.
More information: European Council