EU slammed over satellite broadband
February 4, 2013
By Chris Forrester
Europe’s satellite operators have issued a strong condemnation of the European Commission’s attitude towards terrestrial bias in broadband deployment. Brussels, it is argued by the operators, regularly favours and helps underwrite terrestrial and cellular connectivity and yet ignores similar help towards the satellite industry.
A meeting in Brussels, organised by the European Satellite Operators Association, saw EC officials admit that it was often easier to help projects that were focused on building fibre-optic deployment, and even 4G cellular. “What I fear is incoherence,” said Romain Bausch, CEO at SES of Luxembourg. “I am speaking of incoherencies in policies that promote broadband infrastructure in a way that seems to forget satellites.”
The conference heard that as broadband moved from urban to suburban deployment, the need for satellite-supplied broadband to serve suburban and rural homes was clearer than ever. Bausch argued that at least some of the funds at the European Commission which are allocated to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural users be spent to promote satellite broadband. He said that it costs much less to connect a given household via satellite than it does using terrestrial services.
Michel de Rosen, CEO at Eutelsat of Paris urged the commission to allocate its resources “with a sense of fairness — and with a recognition that what we do is useful to people.”