Taiwan faucets European satellites to guard wartime communications

As fears of warfare with China escalate, Taiwan is in search of European assist for its communications methods.

The island nation not too long ago tapped providers from two satellite tv for pc corporations 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 venture to TNW on Monday. The corporate stated it aimed to provide 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 defend providers akin to on-line calls, video conferencing, and dwell 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 12 months.

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 function that satellite tv for pc corporations are enjoying in international conflicts. They’ve been notably outstanding in Ukraine, the place SpaceX’s Starlink has offered web providers since Russia’s full-scale invasion. The community has stored the nation linked throughout disruption to terrestrial methods.

The warfare 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) venture is scheduled to launch by 2027.

“For the primary time, the European Union can have its personal telecommunications constellation, specifically in low orbits, the brand new frontier for telecommunication satellites,” MEP Christophe Grudler, rapporteur on the EU safe connectivity programme, stated final 12 months.