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15 October 2014
15. October 2014 Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space calls public players to join forces to eradicate the Digital Divide

SABER conference in Brussels

They are among 6 million households across Europe with no internet access.

SABER conference in Brussels

SABER is pan-European network with public and private partners to jointly contribute to the roll-out and take-up of satellite broadband services so as to eradicate the Digital Divide

For the past two years, Airbus DS has been involved in the SABER pan-European network which has gathered public and private partners with the aim to jointly contribute to the roll-out and take-up of satellite broadband services so as to eradicate the Digital Divide. At the final SABER conference held on 30 September in Brussels, SABER suggested the adoption of a voucher scheme within an EU or national framework as an overarching programme with regional implementation, administration and delivery. Voucher Schemes use publicly available funds to subsidise the hardware and/or installation costs of satellite broadband solutions.

Mario Campolargo, Head of the Future Networks within the European Commission (DGCNECT) acknowledged that the EU connectivity objectives could not be achieved without satellites and recognised the lack of awareness about these solutions as a reason for a slow take up. He thus welcomed the proposal for such Voucher scheme approach.

Eric Béranger, Airbus DS’s Head of Space Systems Programmes, stressed the need to “put an end to the myth” regarding satellite service performance limitations.  “Today’s generation of High Throughput Satellites allows operators to offer equivalent price and performance to ADSL providers. Current satellites can already support more than 30 Mbps data rates and professional services go beyond 50 Mbps,”  said Eric before turning to the future and stating that: “the new generation of HTS is on its way to enable another revolution by 2020 enabling us to develop the terabit satellite”. He concluded by calling for all public players to join forces in supporting the associated R&D effort.

During its lifespan, the SABER project has published important, practical information, guidelines and toolkits (some available in several languages) to help national and regional governments close the European Digital Divide by using satellite broadband technology.

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