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Action Plan on satellite communications in the Information Society

The European Commission has adopted, on the initiative of Commissioners Edith Cresson and Martin Bangemann, an Action Plan on satellite communications in the Information Society. The aim of the plan is to improve significantly Europe's role in the provision of global satellite...
The European Commission has adopted, on the initiative of Commissioners Edith Cresson and Martin Bangemann, an Action Plan on satellite communications in the Information Society. The aim of the plan is to improve significantly Europe's role in the provision of global satellite communications services and applications.

Actions covered by the plan aim to focus Europe's industrial potential on the new generation of global satellite systems, advanced services and innovative applications which meet key user requirements in the Global Information Society, in particular personal mobility, fast response times, global connectivity and access to the broadband evolution of Internet.

The demand for communications services and infrastructures will increasingly be met by satellite-based systems, which will become ever more important in the global economic framework. Europe will, therefore, need a strong and coherent satellite communications industry and services sector, the development of which is the major aim of the Action Plan.

The Commission wants the European industry to be in a position to compete effectively with the US industry, which is currently leading developments, particularly in the services and equipment sectors. With forecasts for satellite communications markets suggesting revenue of USD 400 billion in the next ten years, the value of these markets for European industry is clear. Recent initiatives to liberalize global telecommunications markets, in the WTO in particular, mean that new opportunities for growth in satellite services have been created.

The Action Plan consists of three main lines of action:

- Urgent implementation of existing regulatory measures, ensuring the proper functioning of the internal market and allowing for a fully competitive environment;
- Strengthening European political and industrial positions on an international level;
- Reinforcement of R&D and applications development, through coordination of research programmes of the EU, European Space Agency and the Member States. Priority areas for technological development will be identified, in consultation with industry, in the context of development of the EU's research and development programmes.

The Commission has involved Europe's satellite industry, including operators, service providers, equipment manufacturers and users, in the preparation of the Action Plan, which was developed as a result of the meeting held between Commissioners Cresson and Bangemann and the industry in October 1996.
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