Why the Broadcast Industry is Taking Steps to Safeguard C-band

By Annette Purves, Principal, Regulatory Affairs

April 22nd, 2014 — The next World Radiocommunications Conference (“WRC”) is planned for November 2015 in Geneva. While that may seem far away, Agenda Item 1.1 will address the issue of spectrum rights as the International Mobile Telecommunication (“IMT”) appeal for additional C-band spectrum below 6 GHz. The C-band spectrum in question (3400-4200 MHz in the down-link and 5850-6425 MHz in the up-link) is used heavily for many services, broadcasting and content distribution among them. Thankfully, the broadcasting community is well aware of the potential impact that any further encroachment on C-band spectrum could have on their most important customer—the viewer.

For instance, NABA, the North American Broadcasters Association, commissioned a sharing study between Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) and IMT, including proposed indoor small cell IMT deployment. The study concluded that sharing between FSS and any possible deployment scenario of IMT would not be feasible. NABA has successfully channeled the results of this study through the ITU process to the point where the conclusions are now part of the Conference Preparatory Meeting (“CPM”) text, which forms the basis for the considerations at WRC-15. NABA has raised this issue in the U.S., discussing the findings on Capitol Hill and in front of the FCC.

Meanwhile, the European Broadcasting Union (“EBU”) has also studied the issue, but with a slightly different approach.  The EBU critically examined the huge spectrum requirements that the IMT community, through Report ITU-R M.2290, put forward.  According to the EBU findings, a number of assumptions underlying the IMT’s spectrum calculation are flawed, resulting in IMT spectrum requirements that the EBU states are greatly overestimated (click here to read the report). The presumably inaccurate assumptions were noted independently by various telecoms experts and the satellite industry, as well.  A request for clarification has been submitted to the ITU by the satellite industry.

The EBU further points out that before taking any decision on new spectrum allocations, it is important to ensure that the incremental benefits to society of providing new spectrum for mobile use will exceed the economic and social costs of such displacement to existing users.

While the satellite community has and will continue to raise awareness around the implications of an even partial loss of infringement on C-band we applaud the broadcasting community’s efforts given the fact that C-band enables connectivity in many developing regions, bringing information, education and entertainment to millions of radio listeners and TV viewers.

The challenge is to create awareness about the multitude of services being provided via satellite and their criticality in every country around the world. You can help. Please visit http://www.intelsat.com/tools-resources/c-band/ and www.satellite-spectrum-initiative.com for more information.

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