The European Satellite Operators Association (ESOA) welcomed the decision on March 19th by European Heads of State on the EU Economic Recovery Package (EERP), wherein 1.020B euros has been allocated to promote access to broadband, reflecting the Commission’s desire to give coverage to all 500 million European citizens.
In its Communication Better access for rural areas to modern ICT the European Commission reaffirms the 2010 broadband for all objective as set out in the context of the EERP and recalls that 30 percent of the EU's rural population is currently excluded from broadband access. ESOA is convinced the EERP will pave the way for providing broadband access to 100 percent of the European population, based on a non-discriminatory assessment at national and local level of the different technological options available. These funds must filter down quickly through the Member States to connect farmers, rural businesses and households to the web and create greater access to European and global markets.
Emphasising the huge potential of satellite broadband in the Package, Mr. Giuliano Berretta, Chairman of ESOA said, “Satellite capacity is already in place to enable a sizeable and rapid roll-out of satellite broadband services throughout Europe. By investing in an antenna, modem and installation, farmers, local communities and rural businesses can already connect to the internet, with the immediate benefit of greater competitiveness. This point of access equipment can also be used in homes, schools and libraries to ensure that European citizens benefit in both the short and long term. With the right application of funds, satellites can connect at least a million farmers, local residents and rural businesses to the Internet by the end of 2010.”
Satellite broadband is an immediately available resource, with no new infrastructure needed to connect European citizens. Through the installation of simple equipment in households, businesses, educational establishments and community centres, satellite broadband can provide immediate access to the vast resources of the Internet. Satellites are an invisible infrastructure, that fly above us using solar power. Besides broadband connectivity, other uses include agricultural applications, crisis communications and disaster preparedness, e-government services, tele-education, tele-medicine as well as advanced mobile communications for personal and professional users.
Commenting on the dispersal of the funds and the implementation of the package, Mr. Berretta called on all parties to work together — “European leaders have stressed that funds must be allocated on a non-discriminatory basis. ESOA strongly encourages the Member States to place satellite broadband on an equal basis with all other broadband technologies to ensure that the rural population has the opportunity to obtain quickly the best possible broadband solutions. ESOA is reaching out to rural communities, businesses and administrations to work together to provide Europe's citizens with the maximum benefit out of satellite broadband, including immediate and affordable access throughout the continent.”
ESOA is a non-profit European organisation established with the objective of serving and promoting the common interests of European satellite operators. The Association is the reference point for the European satellite operators industry and today represents the interests of 10 satellite operators who deliver information communication services across the globe.