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People using satellite broadband

Satellite broadband providers have lobbied the European Commission to provide public funding for the rollout of the technology.

Internet service providers from across the continent gathered in Brussels yesterday (Tuesday May 24th) to press the case for further EU investment in satellite services.

Advocates of satellite broadband claim it is the only technology capable of bridging the gaps in broadband networks, and ensuring 100 per cent high-speed internet coverage.

The Association of Telecommunications and Value-Added Service Providers (VATM) held a press conference in the Belgian capital, seeking to raise the profile of what is a growing sector.

According to VATM, the technology can help meet the key aim of the EC's Digital Agenda Action Plan, which is to provide all European citizens with basic access to broadband by 2013.

"We have been working towards eradicating the digital divide since long before it became a political objective," said Jürgen Grützner, managing director of VATM.

He claimed that it is important to make end users aware of all the broadband options available to them, and look to offer speeds based on their needs.

"If satellite is not supported in a technology-neutral way, the last few per cent will never be served," Mr Grützner added.

"Member states are under pressure to find cost-effective solutions. Fibre will cost millions to get to the entire population, and there's no guarantee people will sign up. With satellite it only costs when people say they want to connect."

With the equipment required to establish a satellite broadband connection costing several hundreds of pounds, the VATM is hoping EU subsidies will encourage people living in remote areas to embrace the technology.

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