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EU, “U.S., Stop Monopoly of GPS”

Posted July. 04, 2003 21:54,   


The conflict between the U.S. and Europe is worsening over the global positioning system (GPS) market where end-users are exponentially increasing all over the world.

The GPS is even referred to be the fifth necessity after water, petroleum, electricity, and communications as it is used not only used for the military purposes but also widely used in our daily lives. However, the Pentagon is monopolizing its control 100 %.

Therefore, the E.U. is trying to build an independent satellite navigation system against U.S.`s GPS and, meanwhile in the U.S. people are raising voices for special measures to face the Europe`s challenge.

15 E.U. member countries - although they had made the budget of $3.6 billion last year - were fighting internally over participating share but dramatically agreed to develop an independent system called ‘Galileo’ at the end of May. So European Space Agency recently began to carry out operations with an aim of launching 30 satellites by the year 2008.

On this, U.S.`s weekly magazine Foreign Affairs urged in its latest issue that “Another dispute between the U.S. and Europe has begun, but this time in the space.” “We may not stop ‘Galileo’ but we have to counter strike Europe by improving the performance of the GPS.”

Various worried voices are being raised in the U.S., such as “electric waves of the ‘Galileo’ could cause electric waves of the GPS will be tangled together,” “The open architecture of ‘Galileo’ could cause dangers to our security.” Some even suggest launching interfering electric waves against Galileo.

The E.U., however, believes that it absolutely needs its own system as the GPS services can be stopped at anytime at anywhere for the U.S.`s military purposes.

E.U. officials also believe they can no longer overlook the financial aspects of it. The GPS, which began to be operated in 1978, was first used by civilians in 1983 to find a crashed aircraft of the Korean Airline. However, overwhelming majority of users are civilians with the ratio 100:1 (civilian vs soldiers). The profit made from using the GPS has also been increasing, 20% every year and last year it reached $12 billion.