During a post-results financial statement late on October 25th the CEO of Eutelsat, Michel de Rosen, made a robust defence of its position regarding the 28.5 degrees East orbit slot, and from where hundreds of TV and radio channels are beamed into the UK and Ireland. SES Astra is also claiming certain transmission rights from the same orbital location, and says it is going to start broadcasting from the position next October.
Eutelsat’s de Rosen says that an Intersystem Coordination Agreement it signed with SES Astra in 1999 forms the basis of its claim, and is calling for arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris to settle the problem, accusing SES Astra of “violating” the terms of the Agreement. Eutelsat has bolstered its claim to the position by moving an aging satellite (Eutelsat 48B/W2M) to the position where it can send 8 transponders-worth of signals outside Europe,
SES Astra is currently not saying very much other than it will “vigorously” defend its position and that it fully intends to start transmissions from the disputed location on Oct 4 next year.
SES has its own quarterly financial statement due on November 9th where it is expected to add clarity to its current position, including whether or not it will participate in the Arbitration proceedings.