Middle East

SSI has been tracking with interest the liberalizing agenda in a number of Administrations in the Middle East over the last year. SSI supports this process and offers its support on matters relating to modifying the regulatory framework to allow greater access to spectrum for satellite services whilst ensuring an efficient use of spectral resources. It is important that when carrying out the reforms to the regulatory regimes industry is closely consulted at all stages to ensure that the new regulation is successful in achieving the liberalization agenda, and opening their markets to increased competition.

SSI is also working to ensure that regulators are aware of the important services that satellites provide to users in the Middle East. Many regulators are unaware of the wide range of applications that are currently provided to users in their country via satellite, both in rural and urban environments. SSI will also provide information about new satellite services that could provide new opportunities for consumers if a light-touch regulatory regime is followed. We expect that once made aware of the benefits that come from satellite services many Administrations will provide support for the work of SSI and help to ensure access to spectrum for satellite services.

However, SSI is concerned with the increasing proliferation of WiMAX licenses in the 3.5 GHz band throughout the Middle East. The entire C band is a key spectrum band for current and future satellite services and ensuring that it remains accessible and without undue constraints for satellite services will be one of the main issues that SSI will approach in 2009.