The European Commission says the private sector will be unable to meet targets to get the Galileo satellite communications system off the ground by 2012, and has called for more public cash to be spent on the project.
The Commission said “the Galileo roadmap needs adapting to meet the deadline of 2012 by when Galileo should be fully operable. The public-private partnership set up to implement Galileo needs to be re-profiled to enable Galileo to be brought into service on time”.
Jacques Barrot, Commission vice-president for transport, said, "Europe needs a satellite radio navigation system as part of its essential infrastructure for crucial applications such as border control, transport logistics, financial operations and the surveillance of critical energy and communications infrastructures.
“The Commission is doing everything it can to guarantee its success. Galileo will make a major contribution to Community policies, and embodies Europe's ambitions in space, technology and innovation,” he said.
The European Galileo satellite radio navigation system will consist of a constellation of 30 satellites in orbit at an altitude of 24,000km, offering various services, including an improved GPS system for transport location systems.
The Commission says the present Galileo roadmap, which provides for the involvement of the private sector at an early stage, will not enable the project to be completed within the desired timeframe, and that this is “likely to lead to considerable extra costs for the private sector”.
The Commission proposes adapting the roadmap to enable the timetable and costs to be monitored more closely, and to give the satellite radio navigation applications and services industries “a greater sense of security” as to when Galileo signals will actually become available.
The Commission said the “most beneficial, the most realistic and the most economic option” will be for all the initial infrastructure to be put in place while being piloted and financed by the public sector.
But the operation of the system will be entrusted to a private concession holder, which will charge third parties for access.
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