Brussels, 01 Mar 2004
After three years of talks, the EU and the US have finally reached agreement on the frequency to be used by Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system, clearing the way for the operational phase of the project.
A deal on the signal structure to be used by Galileo proved problematic because of US fears that the European system could interfere with its planned M-code military signal. The agreement, reached on 25 February, will see the adoption of a common baseline signal structure for both the EU and the US open services. The future US GPS will use a BOC 1,1 signal, whereas the Galileo open service will use a fully compatible optimised version of the same signal that guarantees a high level of performance.
'This is another very important step for the Galileo project, which recognises both sides as equal partners and creates the optimal conditions for the development of the European system, fully independent and compatible [...] with the American GPS,' said Loyola de Palacio, European Commission Vice President responsible for transport and energy.
Elaborating on the EU-US agreement, she explained: 'This agreement will allow all users to use, in a complementary way, both systems with the same receiver: it creates indeed the world standard of radio navigation by satellite. I'm happy to see that we agreed not to freeze the performance of signal modulations: on the contrary, it establishes clear rules for both parties to jointly or individually continuously improve the performance of their respective systems, for the benefit of all users worldwide.'
So that both systems can be improved in the future, the agreement also allows for a degree of optimisation of the baseline signal structures, either jointly or individually, in order to further improve performance.
A few outstanding issues remain, predominantly related to legal issues and procedural aspects, which still need to be resolved, but these are not expected to delay the signing of a formal agreement, anticipated to take place in the coming weeks.
For further information on Galileo, please consult the following web addresses: