An ambition to create the European Union’s own satellite communications system was advanced by representatives from the European Parliament and Council, which gave the provisional nod to the big-money project.

The two bodies struck a provisional agreement on regulation, setting-out the European Commission’s plan to launch its own satellite communications system. It is being designed to supply secure government services and residential broadband through the private sector.

Its constellation will cover Europe and areas defined as of “strategic interest”, including Africa and the Arctic.

The plan still needs to be fully approved by member states at the European Council and formally go through the full European Parliament procedure.

In a blog on the project, European Commissioner Therry Bretton described the move as “historic”, adding the so-called Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnection and Security by Satellites (IRIS2) would heighten “Europe’s role as a true space power”.

The European Union plans to spend €2.4 billion of its own funds on the project with contributions from the European Space Agency and the private investors expected to be added to the pot.

Once built, its fleet will supply secure communications infrastructure for member states and other government bodies, alongside delivering what the European Council described as “broadband access for all”, supplied by third party companies using the infrastructure.

The EU’s system likely will compete with a slew of commercial satellite systems targeting the communications industry.