Eutelsat and SES at loggerheads over UK orbital positions

Eutelsat has filed a request for arbitration against rival SES with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris over an alleged breach of the 1999 agreement between the pair governing the use of frequencies at the closely adjacent 28.2° and 28.5° East orbital position operated by SES and Eutelsat respectively. Their satellites at these positions are used to serve the UK and Ireland markets.

According to Eutelsat, the recent deal signed between SES and Media Broadcast for the use of additional spectrum violates SES’s agreement with Eutelsat on the use of the frequencies. SES recently launched Astra 2F, the first of three new satellites that will provide replacement and growth capacity for the UK and Ireland. From October next year they will also use spectrum granted by Media Broadcast following a 2005 agreement.

Eutelsat says that this agreement, which was only disclosed by SES at the start of this month, violates the terms agreed in the 1999 Intersystem  Coordination Agreement, and specifically SES’s commitment to respect  Eutelsat’s operations at 28.5° East.