October 1, 2023

As fears of conflict with China escalate, Taiwan is searching for European assist for its communications programs.

The island nation just lately tapped companies from two satellite tv for pc companies on the continent: the UK’s OneWeb and Luxembourg’s SES.

To keep away from disruption throughout a possible battle, SES will implement a medium-earth orbit (MEO) satellite tv for pc community, Taipei’s digital ministry introduced final week.

SES confirmed the mission to TNW on Monday. The corporate mentioned it aimed to present Taiwan “an emergency backup community in case of damages to its present terrestrial networks.”

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The transfer is a part of broader plans to strengthen Taiwan’s digital resilience. The nation hopes non-geostationary satellites can shield companies resembling on-line calls, video conferencing, and reside broadcasting.

Along with the SES deployment, Taiwan has sought help from OneWeb. Audrey Tang, the nation’s digital minister, visited the British firm in June to debate deploying a low-Earth orbit (LEO) system. Tang said OneWeb — which is backed by the UK authorities — will present satellite tv for pc protection for all of Taiwan by the tip of the yr.

The community would increase the communications choices on the island. By the tip of 2024, the nation goals to put in over 700 satellite tv for pc receivers, which can present a backup community throughout any catastrophe.

The plans present the rising position that satellite tv for pc companies are taking part in in international conflicts. They’ve been significantly distinguished in Ukraine, the place SpaceX’s Starlink has supplied web companies since Russia’s full-scale invasion. The community has stored the nation related throughout disruption to terrestrial programs.

The conflict in Ukraine has additionally strengthened the case for the EU’s satellite tv for pc constellation. Generally known as IRIS2, the community is designed to keep up web entry throughout disaster conditions. The $6.2bn (€5.7bn) mission is scheduled to launch by 2027.

“For the primary time, the European Union may have its personal telecommunications constellation, particularly in low orbits, the brand new frontier for telecommunication satellites,” MEP Christophe Grudler, rapporteur on the EU safe connectivity programme, mentioned final yr.