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Avanti receives grant for satellite broadband project

Wednesday, April 11th 2012
Avanti Communications is among the recipients of government funding to develop space technology.
Avanti receives grant for satellite broadband project
Broadband satellite operator Avanti Communications is among the beneficiaries of a new multimillion-pound fund for the UK's space technology industry.

The government has unveiled £6 million of investment in the sector, with the money set to be spent on the development of commercial services and products using space technology and data from systems based in space.

Part of the National Space Technology Programme from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the Technology Strategy Board, the grant funding will benefit four major projects led by Avanti, Astrium, MC International Imaging and Surrey Satellite Technology

When contributions from the participating companies are taken into account, the total value of the research and development projects comes to more than £11.5 million.

Some 21 companies, universities and research organisations - one-third of which are small and medium-sized enterprises - are partnering with the project leaders.

Avanti will use the money to work on a "ruggedised and lightweight" portable Ka-Band satellite communications terminal.

It is hoped that the product will provide an effective means to access high-bandwidth satellite broadband services on mobile devices while out and about.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "The UK space industry supports thousands of high-tech jobs in the UK and is an important driver of economic growth.

"This £6 million investment will build on that success by helping some of the most innovative British businesses develop highly commercial, cutting-edge space technology that will be in demand in a growing global market."

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added that the projects will allow the "development, commercialisation and exploitation of space technologies".

A report published by the UKSA last summer backed the use of satellite broadband to deliver internet connectivity to remote communities in the UK and across the world.

The agency's Space Leadership Council declared that the technology can benefit homes and businesses beyond the reach of terrestrial infrastructure.

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