The European Parliament approved Tuesday the Commission’s proposal on the Public Regulated Service (PRS) access rules for Galileo, Europe’s global navigation satellite system. This special service will protect the functioning of management of critical transport and emergency services, police work and border control, as well as of peace missions via its highly robust encrypted signals. These enhanced signals protect the services against threats, such as “spoofing” that can distort signals guiding a car or a ship, and provide inaccurate positioning to e.g. a police car or an ambulance. PRS are valuable in crisis situations where it is essential that emergency and security services continue to function.
Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: “The European Commission welcomes this very important vote of the European Parliament to promote the Galileo project. We need to ensure that key services, such as rescue and emergency services, continue to function in moments of crisis, terrorist threat or natural disaster”.
Galileo will set up an enhanced global satellite navigation system, providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service. It will offer five services, the Public Regulated Service (PRS), the Open Service, the Search-and-Rescue Service, the Safety-of-Life Service and the Commercial Service.
The legislative proposal, following the vote of the European Parliament, will now be forwarded to the Council. If approved, the PRS could be made available after Galileo becomes operational in 2014, together with two other initial Galileo services, the Open Service and the Search-And-Rescue Service.
PRS is restricted to public users
Galileo is a civil system under civilian control. Decisions for the use of PRS and its application lie with each Member State. PRS use will be controlled and restricted to authorised governmental bodies in the EU Member States and the European institutions. Third countries and international organisations who conclude the appropriate agreements with the European Union may qualify to use the service.
Business opportunities and better services to citizens
The manufacture of the PRS receivers will create business opportunities for European industry and entrepreneurs. European citizens will benefit indirectly from better and safer emergency and security services as a result of PRS.
Tight control framework to ensure trust
Each Member State wishing to use PRS will set up a “Competent PRS Authority”. This authority will manage and control end-users as well as the manufacture of PRS receivers. It will also ensure adherence to clearly-defined security standards.
Coordination on a European level will guarantee consistency and conformity with the high level of security required.
General background on Galileo
Galileo will underpin many sectors of the European economy through its services: electricity grids, fleet management companies, financial transactions, shipping industry, rescue operations, peace-keeping missions will all benefit from the free Open Service, the Public Regulated Service and the Search-and-Rescue service.
In addition, Galileo will make Europe independent in a technology that is becoming critical, including for such areas as electricity distribution and telecommunication networks. Galileo is expected to deliver €90 billion to the European economy over a period of 20 years in terms of additional revenues for industry and in terms of public and social benefits, not counting the benefit of independence.
Galileo will provide three early services as of 2014/2016 based on an initial constellation of minimum 24 satellites: an initial Open Service (2014), an initial Public Regulated Service (2016) and an initial Search-and-Rescue Service (2014). Further services to follow later will include a Commercial Service combining two encrypted signals for higher data throughput rate and higher accuracy authenticated data.
EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is Europe’s regional augmentation system for GPS signals. It is the precursor to Galileo. The EGNOS open service is operational since October 2009, and the Commission recently launched the EGNOS “Safety-of-Life” service for aviation See IP/11/247.