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EU to launch communication satellite network; plans to avert another ‘Ukraine-style internet crisis’

A communications satellite network will be launched by the European Union (EU) by 2027. According to a deal agreed on Thursday between the European Parliament and EU member states, the IRIS2 satellite internet system will be developed. IRIS2 stands for Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnection, and Security via Satellites.

The EU agencies and private businesses will contribute to the $6.2 billion cost of this project. The private sector is anticipated to provide the last $3.7 billion, with the EU providing $2.4 billion. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the project was initially announced in February; however, discussions were stymied by a financial dispute.

Renew Europe, a centrist political group in the European Parliament, said in a statement that ‘[IRIS 2] 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 example, in Ukraine’.

In the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine war, the EU has realised the value of internet self-sufficiency. After the battle began, satellite internet has proven to be quite helpful. Russia shut off Ukraine’s access to terrestrial internet as soon as the invasion began.

Tech tycoon Elon Musk responded by providing Ukraine with free use of his Starlink satellite internet service. In emergency scenarios, such as cyberattacks and natural disasters, maintaining secure internet connection is the primary goal of the EU satellite programme. Additionally, the network will be able to open up black spots in Europe, the Arctic, and Africa and give isolated locations internet access.


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