Regulatory Issues

While the satellite industry’s success at the ITU World Radiocommunications Conference 2007 (WRC-07) demonstrated our sector’s ability to defend against spectrum attacks, the challenges for WRC 2015 will be much greater.  The terrestrial wireless industry has again identified satellite C-band spectrum as a priority for their services and they are already lobbying national governments for support of their agenda.  Unlike the sharing compatibility arguments that they made in advance of WRC-2007, their arguments are likely to be more straightforward, arguing that the continued demand growth for broadband services, along with spectrum auction fees paid by terrestrial operators, makes the repurposing of spectrum both necessary and efficient.  They will also argue that to the degree that satellite services are necessary, sharing can be accommodated using geographic separation or shielding/protection techniques.  Further, the terrestrial wireless community has also learned from their own losses in WRC-2007 and will not likely repeat the same mistakes again.

 

 The satellite community thus cannot expect to use the same arguments and tactics that were successful in WRC 2007.  The satellite community must demonstrate that it too will be providing new and critical services, at lower and more competitive rates.  The satellite community must also create broader coalitions of operators, customers, suppliers, and users to blunt the overwhelming financial and resource advantage that the terrestrial community brings.   

 

It is critical that a global satellite-spectrum campaign be co-ordinated now to address the broadband wireless industry efforts currently being made in preparation for WRC-15. The urgency of this requirement is underlined as communications companies and governments around the world continue to report incidents where fixed- and mobile-satellite services are being severely disrupted by interference from terrestrial wireless services in the “extended” and standard C-band frequencies, and as national administrations open proceedings to explore sharing of other satellite bands.