Europe needs to embrace the opportunities that will be created by universal high capacity access to the Internet. The research project BATS (Broadband Access via integrated Terrestrial & Satellite systems), funded under the European Union 7th Framework Programme, aims to bridge the potentially widening Broadband divide between urban and rural areas in order to meet the objectives set forth in the EC Digital Agenda: universal availability of Broadband speeds of at least 30 Mb/s throughout Europe, with 50% having speeds above 100 Mb/s. Given the fact that accelerated deployment of current terrestrial Broadband technology will not be able to satisfy this requirement in the most difficult-to-serve locations, this will be accomplished by BATS via an integrated approach that combines the flexibility, large coverage and high capacity of future multi-spotbeam satellites, the low latency of fixed DSL lines, and the pervasiveness of mobile/wireless access.
In the past, satellite and terrestrial networks have competed to provide Broadband services to the user. BATS proposes a different concept whereby satellite and various terrestrial deliveries are integrated into a common terminal – the Intelligent User Gateway – such that the user Quality of Experience is the main metric used to select and match the optimal delivery mechanism appropriate to the service being provided. BATS will design a content centric delivery system that operates seamlessly, under cost limit rules defined by the user. The project will also investigate the feasibility of implementing highly reliable satellite communications with usage cost at a fraction of current costs.