Regulatory Analysis

What changed at WRC-07?

The C band was the most contentious issue debated at the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC).  Discussion on the C band issue went on until the last day of the WRC – a month after they started.  It was the first major issue on which the entire FSS community has been united at a WRC, a sign of how important the C band is for ensuring that FSS providers can continue to provide services used daily around the globe.

In the Final Acts of the WRC it clearly shows no global identification for IMT in any part of the C band (3 400 – 4 200 MHz). The ITU table of allocations also remains unchanged although there are a limited number of countries who have signed ‘opt-in’ footnotes.  Following long debate it is clear that the majority of Administrations were signalling that the band would not be globally harmonised for IMT.  Specifically, in Region 2 (the Americas and the Caribbean), there is no identification for IMT, just an upgrade, through a footnote, in 14 countries of the mobile service allocation in the band 3 400-3 500 MHz.

Why is the C band so important for the FSS Community?

C band links are nearly impervious to rain attenuation and the resulting fading that impacts quality of service – especially important in the areas around the equator.  This is of concern to applications that demand high reliability, such as cellular backhaul and TV distribution to local TV stations and cable systems. New applications that require high quality of service, such as broadband data transfer in energy development and operations, manufacturing, national defence and health care, will also turn to the C band as the preferred band to deliver their services – an option that the result of WRC-07 has preserved.

The other important benefit that can be provided by the C band is the global beam coverage, which cannot be provided in the same way, or with the same reliability, in other FSS bands. Remote Pacific islands as well as developing countries of South America and Central Asia depend on C band capacity to overcome a wide variety of obstacles.  Pacific Island States spoke up strongly in defence at the WRC and the result will ensure that they have access to connectivity from the FSS community for many years to come.

Interference is already happening

The worries put forward by the FSS community at the WRC were based on experience and not just theoretical calculations.  Interference instances have been recorded around the world – please see the ‘interference instances’ tab for more information – and the FSS community is currently in the process of implementing a project to more systematically collect data to clearly demonstrate how damaging interference can be to important services throughout the world.

It should be noted that both the proponents of new mobile services and satellite operators present at the WRC in Geneva agreed that ubiquitously deployed mobile systems were incompatible with satellite services. Several independent studies by both parties showed that separation distances required between IMT / WiMAX systems are too large to allow deployment in an urban setting.