The European Commission (EC) has approved new rules that it said will make it easier for people travelling on ships in EU waters to make and receive mobile calls and messages.
Today the EC announced that it has adopted the new rules, adding that they would harmonise the technical and legal environment for providing such services, while making sure than anyone out at sea had the opportunity to use them.
EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said, "Tens of millions of people who travel and work on ships anywhere in European territorial waters will be able to use their mobile phones without problems of interference as a result of the new rules just adopted by the Commission."
While currently most ships use picocell transmitters that connect to satellites to carry their calls, the EC's move means that in future 900MHz and/or 1800MHz GSM radio frequencies should also be available to passengers and crews.
The EC also approved a ruling to calling for countries to relax their authorisation regimes so that any on-board services operator authorised in one country can provide services in the territorial waters of other member states without the need for further licences.
As well as improving individual communications, the EC said that its new rules meant that it would be easier for large firms to track their shipments. It suggested that a container’s temperature and humidity could be monitored from a distance so that the quality of merchandises stored on ships can be controlled at any time.
EU member states have 12 months to comply with the EC’s decision.
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