In an effort to strengthen its own space and communications sectors and safeguard security by reducing its reliance on foreign suppliers, the European Union has struck an agreement on a $6,2 billion satellite internet infrastructure.
On Thursday, representatives from the 27-member European Council and the European Parliament reached a consensus.
In February, the European Commission made public its plan to develop and run a satellite internet network.
The EU plan comes in the wake of an increase in satellite launches as well as growing concerns over Russian and Chinese military advancements in space.
By covering Africa with its own satellite internet network, the EU would be able to provide governments there with an option to Chinese competitors while also accelerating the spread of broadband internet in Europe.
In the event of significant outages or disasters, a space-based network might support terrestrial networks and provide connectivity in areas that are not serviced by conventional service providers.
The Commission plans to use leftover funds from other EU initiatives and redirect 2.4 billion euros from various EU programmes, with the private sector likely to contribute the remaining 3.6 billion euros.
Initial development and satellite deployment could begin in the coming year, with full services utilising quantum cryptography, a form of high-level encryption, becoming available in 2028.