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The satellite industry wants greater co-operation - read 'financial aid' from governments if their technology is to help make broadband services available to all.

At a joint meeting in Paris earlier this week, the European Satellite Operators Association (ESOA) and the Satellite Industry Association (SIA) outlined how satellite technology can supply broadband, in particular to rural areas and countries in developing regions

The industry maintains that countries that have set deadlines for universal access over the next five years or so will only be able to achieve their goal if satellite is part of the broadband equation.

But according to the industry, helping bridge the digital divide will need help from governments - primarily in the form of financial aid and subsidies to help offset the cost of rolling out a service.

However, the sector is also keen to see obstacles - such as protectionist policies that make it difficult to break into new markets - lowered and more favourable regulatory measures introduced.

In a statement, the chairman of the ESOA Board, Giuliano Berretta, said: "Satellites are an essential component for world governments for achieving their committed objectives to bridge the digital divide, internationally and domestically.

"As operators, we are all playing our part in realising this goal by investing in satellites and developing products and services that enable communities and users to access leading edge communications irrespective of location.

"However, we need governments to positively support satellite solutions so that final users can truly benefit from innovative services," he said.

The two groups along with CEOs of other satellite operators are due to meet in Washington, DC next spring. ®

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