5G satellite constellation to connect 25 million people in rural Europe

5G satellite constellation to connect 25 million people in rural Europe

Technology News |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

ETHER project has announced that its partner Sateliot, a company that is disrupting the satellite industry, has ambitious plans to create the first nanosatellite constellation offering standard 5G IoT connectivity from space to 25 million people in rural areas in Europe.

The ETHER Project will provide the necessary framework for this new satellite network ecosystem, which also involves AI and machine learning.

ETHER project, with a budget of €4.6 Million, is co-funded by the European Commission to develop solutions for a groundbreaking, cutting-edge telecommunications network, impacting people in rural areas who, until now, have remained marginalized from the opportunities that Internet access provides for social and economic prosperity.

ETHER, standing for “Self-evolving terrestrial/non-terrestrial hybrid networks”, is powered by rapidly emerging technologies like AI and machine learning. Sateliot will provide ETHER with its nanosatellite constellation, setting a base for standardization and interoperability between its network in space and the network in the ground through the implementation of a Unified Radio Access Network (RAN) and a 3D ‘Network of Networks’.

The ETHER framework will be used as a baseline for the future of telecommunications, benefitting rural, unconnected areas worldwide, as it is estimated that 15% of the earth doesn’t have cellular connectivity. Therefore, industries such as agriculture, logistics, maritime transportation, and others will greatly benefit.

The AI-based framework used by ETHER is projected to self-evolve the segmented management and orchestration of the integrated network. One of the ETHER project goals is to demonstrate the viability of the unified network of networks, identifying the key benefits that will drive investment in this integration of non-terrestrial satellite with terrestrial networks. Furthermore, this ‘Network of Networks’, built up with terrestrial and space networks, along with the use of AI and machine learning, is to be the ultimate tool to bring 5G and 6G connectivity to rural and uncovered areas.

ETHER is a project funded by the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU), which, under the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program, aims to ensure industrial leadership for Europe in 5G and 6G. The SNS JU is jointly funded by private industry and the EU, and it boasts a €1.8 billion budget for the 2021-27 period. An EU contribution of €900 million will be, at the very least, matched by the private members.

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