Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

IRDAC opinion on satellites

IRDAC, the European Commission's Industrial Research and Development Committee, has produced a report on "Priority actions for satellite communications and satellite navigation". The report, prepared at the request of European Commissioner Edith Cresson, addresses concerns abo...
IRDAC, the European Commission's Industrial Research and Development Committee, has produced a report on "Priority actions for satellite communications and satellite navigation". The report, prepared at the request of European Commissioner Edith Cresson, addresses concerns about the competitive position of the European satellite industry in light of the preparation of the Community's Fifth Framework Programme for research and technological development.

The IRDAC report analysed existing markets associated with satellite communications, currently worth well over $30 billion per year. It stressed that the ability to develop new assets in the satellite market has a highly strategic value for the future position of Europe in the derived markets of earth stations and services. Absence of European industry, it noted, would lead to a "de facto" US monopoly in this sector.

In particular, the deployment of the GPS satellite system has given a strategic advantage to US industry. This may turn out to be an irreversible situation if Europe does not become involved in the definition and deployment of a global navigation satellite system (GNSS). Consequently, IRDAC recommends that the Commission organize a high-level discussion with industry to clarify the possibilities of a government-industry partnership in this area.

The IRDAC report notes that "the strong position of the US satellite industry today is the result of a productive relationship between government and industry, with an industrial policy aimed at dominance of the world market". It stresses that the European Union can help support European industry and shape industrial policy through its mandates in RTD, telecommunications, transport, trade and external relations. In particular, it requests that special attention be given, within the Fifth RTD Framework Programme, to the development of technologies, applications and services using satellites.
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