The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending institution of the European Union, and Eutelsat, one of the world’s leading satellite operators, announced a €200 million financing agreement at the European Space Conference today. This eight-year loan will back investments related to the procurement and launch of the KONNECT VHTS satellite for the provision of advanced broadband services in Europe and neighbouring areas.
KONNECT VHTS is an advanced satellite providing unprecedented upload and download speed capacity for both fixed and mobile broadband services. With a weight of 6.3 tonnes and a Ka-band capacity of 500 Gbps, this next generation satellite will carry the most powerful on-board digital processor ever put into orbit, offering capacity, allocation flexibility, optimal spectrum use, and progressive ground network deployment.It will deliver cost-effective, competitive broadband connectivity allowing notably the provision of ubiquitous and affordable very high-speed fixed broadband access to European households, businesses and public administrations in remote areas that remain beyond the reach of terrestrial infrastructure.
Commenting on the agreement, Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat, said: “This long-term financing with the EIB ensures that major players in the space sector like Eutelsat have access to diversified and compelling sources of funding. It is very positive that the European Union has an agenda in support of the space sector that places space connectivity at the centre of its priorities. This commitment also underlines the EU’s belief in geostationary satellites as an indispensable complement to the provision of connectivity to unserved or poorly served regions significantly more quickly and cheaply than deploying terrestrial infrastructure in remote areas.”
“I am very pleased about this agreement with Eutelsat. It is an important step in the launch of a new generation satellite able to deliver accessible, cost-effective and competitive connectivity to all,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “Space is an important driver of innovation in Europe. This investment illustrates how the EU can support researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs in catalysing the development of advanced technologies to the benefit of end-users, customers, service providers and public authorities.”
The transaction follows the EU and EIB's commitment to strengthen their support for European space companies. It is in line with the Gigabit Society targets of the European Commission stating that all households in Europe will have access to at least 100 Mbps internet connectivity by 2025.