European Satellite Day 2013 Spotlights Key Benefits of Satellite Services for European Citizens

Sep 05, 2013, 07:39 ET from ESOA

BRUSSELS, September 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

From climate change to space exploration, disaster relief to TV and broadband for the most remote and disadvantaged communities, Europe's satellite technologies are key to delivering essential services and economic growth, concluded experts and scientists meeting in Brussels on European Satellite Day to discuss "Global Risks - Satellite Answers, Foresight in European space capabilities for enhanced global security". European satellite operators, joined by representatives from the World Economic Forum, the European Space Agency and NGOs called for satellite applications to be put at the heart of the European agenda across sectors, from R&D to end user applications to foster growth and meet the global challenges facing mankind today and in the future.  

"The only way to preserve an environment where essential satellite services can continue to contribute to the European Union and global policy agenda is by making sure policymakers are aware of what satellite services do today. Satellites can help the EU realise its vision of a Connected Continent, ensuring digital skills, and providing high-quality next generation services at affordable prices to citizens quickly and efficiently, all while fostering a sustainable and competitive space industrial base and ensuring a secure and resilient Europe", said Michel de Rosen, Chairman, of ESOA, the European Satellite Operators Association. Europe is already the centre of excellence for space and the sector contributes to high-tech jobs. The world's leading operators, manufacturers, and the most successful launcher are all European. However, satellite operators the world over need certainty in their ability to access satellite spectrum in years to come. "Once the role of satellite is well understood, our spectrum will be safer as well," added de Rosen.

"Whereas policymakers are familiar with cellular because everyone has a mobile phone, it is less obvious where satellites, an invisible infrastructure, fit in," noted Aarti Holla, ESOA Secretary General. "So satellite has to work harder to justify its spectrum use in the EU and internationalfora at a time when spectrum is in high demand for mobile broadband needs. If satellite spectrum is compromised then governments and citizens will lose access to critical services theytoday take for granted," she said.

Speaking for the World Economic Forum, Bruce Weinelt, Director, Head of Telecoms added: "This event is an important step forward in fostering dialogue between space and non-space communities. It will raise awareness of space solutions and encourage their use so as to ensure their ongoing contribution to the challenges of a constantly changing world".

Roberto Viola, Deputy Director General at DG Connect of the European Commission, speaking ahead of the session on 'Ensuring Education for All through Satellite Services' confirmed: "Satellite broadband is an ideal solution for connecting citizens and businesses no matter where they are located and this is true all over the world. We at the Commission are committed to working with Europe's satellite operators to make sure a maximum of EU citizens can be brought online as fast as possible via satellite in support of the Digital Agenda targets and a Single Market - there can be no Connected Continent without 100% coverage but thanks to satellite, full coverage is possible within every Member State."

Tony Long, Director, World Wide Fund for Nature: "Today's conference is exploring some of the most complex and challenging threats of our time - global security, climate change, food security and growing income disparities. Satellites technologies are already playing play a key role in helping alleviate them. Their role looks set to become even more important in choosing between a future of making our planet and lifestyles more sustainable or facing an alternative vision where building resilience to these threats becomes the new watchword."


Other participants to the roundtable, which brought together the heads of space agencies in Europe, CEOs from European satellite companies, high-level policymakers, researchers and NGOs, included Antonio Tajani, Vice President and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, European Commission, Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser to the President, European Commission, Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General, European Space Agency, Alain Ratier, Director General, Eumetsat, Eric Béranger, CEO, Astrium Satellites, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fabio Leite, Deputy Director, International Telecommunications Union, Jean-Jacques Tortora, Secretary General, Eurospace, MagaliVaissiere, Director of Telecoms and Integrated Applications, European Space Agency, Enrico Saggese, President of the Italian Space Agency and representatives from the World Economic Forum. They discussed how state of the art satellite solutions can play a part in mitigating top risks to global stability as identified by The World Economic Forum's Global Risk Report for 2013 (including the social and environmental challenges of climate change, food & water security, natural disasters and an ever-growing digital divide and inequalities in access to knowledge and skills via the Internet).

Delegates addressed the potential consequences of today's political approach that focuses on certain technologies and not others, warning that for the space sector, at the cutting edge of science and technology, where R&D cycles are long and private investment is high, the capacity to anticipate is key. Increasing competition from around the world, in particular from the US where game-changing technologies are emerging from private enterprises such as Space X and Boeing, and China, which is financing, building and launching satellites for numerous new satellite operators, adds to the challenge. The commercial viability of Europe's satellite industry depends on a long-term, well-structured legislative and operating environment.

The figures speak for themselves: Europe is home to the world's four leading satellite operators, the world's foremost launcher, Ariane, and two leading satellite manufacturers, that today account for more than half of all commercial communications satellites in space, with a total private investment value of over €20 billion.

In Europe, commercial satellite operators account for more than 60% of total global revenues and nine out of 10 Ariane launches. The industry directly and indirectly creates more than 200,000 highly qualified jobs and generates €10 billion of revenues annually. It also plays a significant strategic role, enabling independent launch and defence capabilities and putting Europe at the leading edge of new state-of-the-art technologies.

This sector has the potential to contribute more than €100 billion to Europe's economy (Booz&Co), to save billions in the roll-out of broadband networks and to significantly increase GDPs by closing the digital divide. According to Euroconsult, a consulting firm specialised in digital broadcasting and space & communication domains, a single euro of public investment into satellite communications has a massive multiplier effect, generating €47 of downstream revenues.

European Satellite Day 2013, at its second edition, was organised by ESOA in partnership with the European Commission, the World Economic Forum, Eurospace, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Eumetsat.

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