The past few days have seen something of a tennis match of allegations and denials made over the illegal jamming of this past summer’s FIFA World Cup soccer matches for Arab viewers. Fans paid up to $150 for Al Jazeera Sport’s exclusive coverage of the tournament. However, many matches, including the final, were jammed by signals claimed to come from Jordan, with the allegations that disaffected former employees of Jordan Media City were somehow responsible.
Al Jazeera Sports used sophisticated geolocation technology from Maryland-based Integral Systems Inc to identify and locate the source of the jamming. Integral’s engineers, plus support from both Nilesat and Arabsat (whose signals were jammed), “quickly detected and characterized the interference, and identified the interferer’s location with an extremely high level of accuracy – within as little as 2-3 kilometers,” said Integral Systems.
“Integral Systems interference, detection and geolocation capabilities and support were instrumental in identifying the satellite interference issue that impacted millions of our viewers,” said Saeed Bawazir, Director of Technology at Al Jazeera TV.
Bruno Dupas, President of Integral Systems Europe, added: “As the world relies more and more on satellite communications, interference will increasingly plague the satellite broadcast industry. Our decades of experience, and world-class technology provides the greatest level of protection against this ongoing threat.”
The geolocation data fixed the jamming source from near the city of Salt, in northern Jordan. Senior Jordanian officials have firmly denied the allegations. “These allegations are baseless. The government is ready to cooperate with any team of independent experts to examine the facts, and is certain that any such examination will prove these allegations false,” Amal Jreisat, from the office of the prime minister, said.