(Bloomberg) European nations want to build a 6 billion-euro ($7.3 billion) alternative to Elon Musk’s Starlink network so the region isn’t left behind in the race to develop satellite broadband.
The project is being driven by EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton, a former French technology executive and finance minister, the paper said. The work could draw on existing European programs around government satellite communications and quantum technology. In a September speech, Breton alluded to the need for a European constellation “to give Europe access to the level of security offered by space-based quantum cryptology.”
The European Commission said in a statement to Bloomberg that the technical study for the system would start in the beginning of 2021 and the contract for the constellation is expected to be signed before the end of the year.
Musk’s SpaceX has put up hundreds of Starlink satellites and is already testing the service with potential customers. China says it’s sent up communication satellites that use technology based on the laws of quantum physics to make them “hack-proof.”