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News :: Europe closes the digital divide

Europe closes the digital divide

(15/10/2013) With high-speed satellite broadband now available in all 28 EU countries, Europe has reached a major milestone in its drive to bridge the Digital Divide. The opportunity of broadband for all became a reality with the launch of satellite broadband services in the Baltics.

Thanks to satellite-based broadband delivering download speeds of up to 20Mbps and upload speeds of up to 6Mbps, EU citizens across all Member States who are on the wrong side of the digital divide can now join the world community, study, trade and access information as well as view high-quality video content.

“The availability of satellite broadband in all EU member states is an essential stepping-stone for making a Connected Continent a reality,” said Vice President Neelie Kroes. The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE), a flagship initiative of Europe 2020, calls for broadband Internet to be available across the European Union by the end of 2013.

Neelie Kroes was speaking at the European Parliament at an event hosted by MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij to launch of a new online web tool that provides practical information to enable citizens to find a local service provider to supply them with immediate broadband connectivity irrespective of their location.

MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij (EPP): “Bridging the digital divide and making fast broadband available everywhere in Europe today, without waiting for terrestrial infrastructure projects to be completed, has the potential to create jobs and give a boost to rural economies and peripheral areas in Europe.”  

Neelie Kroes discussed with industry representatives, MEPs and policymakers what else needs to be done to ensure that every citizen can get the right support at local and regional levels to access satellite broadband. The latest generation of High Throughput Satellites has revolutionised the provision of high speed broadband services, increasing data transmission speeds and the number of customers that can be supported, whilst significantly reducing costs for end users.

Background Information

The Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE), a flagship initiative of Europe 2020, calls for broadband Internet to be available across the European Union by the end of 2013.

Satellite Broadband, also referred to as internet-by-satellite, is a high-speed bi-directional Internet connection made via communications satellites instead of a telephone landline or other terrestrials means. Today satellite broadband is completely comparable with DSL broadband in terms of both performance and cost with commercial offerings of 20 Mbps often with triple play (internet, TV and voice with the same internet). Whilst fibre offers superior performance, it typically takes time and is more expensive to roll out and so will not be available to all users within a reasonable time frame . On the contrary, satellite solutions are available immediately.

Additional Information

See also: Broadband for all – new online tool

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