The European Commission announced a $6.8 billion satellite communications plan on Tuesday as part of a push to reduce the European Union’s reliance on foreign corporations and safeguard crucial communications and surveillance data from outside intervention.
The decision comes amid mounting concerns about Russian and Chinese military advances in space as well as an increase in satellite launches.
Commercial operators like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its Starlink network, which plans to launch tens of thousands of satellites to provide worldwide space-based wifi, have also contributed to the rapidly rising satellite population and debris.
“Our new connectivity infrastructure will deliver high-speed internet access, serve as a back-up to our current internet infrastructure, increase our resilience and cyber security, and provide connectivity to the whole of Europe and Africa,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton said in a statement.
The EU plan intends to create and manage a space-based state-of-the-art connection system, as well as assist in the fight against cyber and electromagnetic threats and strengthen the resilience of EU communications facilities.
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