The purpose of the SABER (SAtellite Broadband for European Regions) Thematic Network is to create a long term, sustainable environment in which stakeholders interested in tackling the Digital Divide by contributing to the roll out and take-up of broadband for all, at increasing speeds, and in particular through satellite-based services, can proactively collaborate. The scope of the SABER Thematic Network is to create the conditions for the most efficient and effective contribution of satellite systems to support the achievement of the objectives set in Europe 2020 and subsequently in the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE).
The main objective of the SABER Thematic Network is to address the requirements as set out in Objective 5.3 of the ICT PSP Work Programme 2012. The SABER Thematic Network is fully aligned with the specific objectives of the ICT PSP Work Programme (highlighted in bold and italics below). The SABER Thematic Network will bring together regional authorities, and analyse the experience of those which have used satellite solutions for broadband access, in order to: develop guidelines for deployment, share best practices and disseminate information to regions across Europe in need using a common, easy to access, information repository which offers access to relevant information including cost benefit analysis of broadband access by satellite, satellite offers and technical capabilities, state aid, business models, funding options including demand aggregation and recommended solutions to non-technological roadblocks. The SABER Thematic Network will explore the possible use of regional funds in relation to demand aggregation schemes and assistance, and will propose plausible adaptations in call specifications to incorporate satellite communication solutions in such calls.
The activities of the SABER Thematic Network will include the development of a communication plan and working protocols and the launch of a knowledge management platform to facilitate the creation and promotion of an information repository. Members will participate in extensive intelligence gathering and a series of workshops and expert round table discussions will be undertaken to iteratively review, and validate the network’s findings and good practice case studies. These activities will be used to share knowledge and experience. SABER will work with regions in 3 streams; an early stream (for regions ready to plan deployments in the short term) a main stream (to support regions in achieving the 2013 DAE objectives) and a future stream (supporting regions to achieve the 2020 DAE objectives). Tools, methodologies and guidelines will be developed to assist regions in their own satellite broadband deployment planning. SABER will seek to build consensus between stakeholders on solutions to address broadband gaps across European regions. A final conference will be held to ensure that the results and outcomes of the network are disseminated as widely as possible. Finally the activities of the network will be mainstreamed into partners’ organisations and other relevant organisations such as ESOA, ISI, NEREUS and ESA to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the activities.
Subsequently, outcomes foreseen in the SABER Thematic Network will include:
- A critical assessment of actual satellite broadband service deployment and associated case studies. A toolkit and set of guidelines for regions to support the deployment of appropriate satellite broadband solutions.
- The identification of regional requirements for planning satellite deployment.
- The creation of a White Paper on use of satellite solutions to achieve 100% broadband coverage.
- A future roadmap for satellite technology.