Advanced Television

EC confirms 30% of IRIS2 project to smaller players

June 19, 2023

While the IRIS2 broadband consortium headlines, and its €6 billion costs, will still be dominated by the heavyweight participants such as SES, Eutelsat, Thales and Airbus, there will definitely be an opportunity for smaller space businesses to be involved.

The EC’s director for space and innovation, Catherine Kavvada, speaking at the Paris Air Forum ahead of this week’s Paris Air Show (June 19th – 25th), told delegates that Europe’s smaller and mid-size businesses and assorted NewSpace entrants would get “at least 30 per cent of the total price” of the contract’s overall value.

She also explained that the EC was not just planning for the project to 2027, but as a 12-year contract life.

Reportedly the EC has already started meeting with the winning consortium members.

One of the great uncertainties within the project is how the participants might make a profit out of the increasingly complex organisation.

Ruy Pinto, SES’s newly appointed CEO (although currently CTO at SES) on his panel at the event confirmed that SES was happy that IRIS2, in the project’s structure, could yield a profit that met SES’s own internal rate of return targets. He said that there was sufficient upside for companies like SES to invest, and to provide a commercial service on the back of what the Commission is building.

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