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Satellite could lose some C-band spectrum

A Geneva meeting last week of the world’s major international spectrum regulators seemed to indicate that today’s satellite transmissions in C-band are by no means likely to stay intact – at least for terrestrial transmissions – when the larger World Radio Telecommunications Conference (WRC) takes place in November.

The Geneva meeting last week heard from six key regulatory groupings (APT, for Asia-Pac; ASMG for Arab states; ATU for Africa; CEPT for Europe; CITEL for the Americas and RCC which administers Russia and the CIS).

While many of the organisations are happy to reserve and secure C-band for DTH and telco backhaul, three of the regulatory groups (ASMG, CEPT and CITEL) are happy for at least some of the C-band spectrum to be re-allocated for terrestrial use.

The band under specific threat is Band 10 (3400-3600 MHz) which comprises 200 MHz and is much coveted by the GSM Association for use by its members for broadband terrestrial expansion. CITEL (the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission) is in particular keen to get its hands on C-band spectrum, and in some Latino countries the frequencies have already been ‘sold’ or allocated for future use of WiMax-type services.

The final decision will be taken at WRC (Nov 2-27) in Geneva.

Trade journal Space News quoted a statement from Luxembourg’s SES saying: “The lower C-band has been assigned to satellite for decades. Many operators are transmitting in these bands to customers who depend on that service. Losing that critical spectrum resource of course has an impact, which is why we defend it. Our strategy at WRC consequently has not changed: we defend the entire band.”

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