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Eutelsat chief warns of dire consequences of C-band reallocation

Michel de Rosen

Michel de Rosen

Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen has warned African states that they face serious consequences if C-band spectrum is reallocated to mobile operators.

De Rosen, speaking at an African Telecommunication Union (ATU) event in Nigeria in preparation for November’s World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva, said that the C-band is widely used to provide vital services, including air traffic control, government and enterprise communications, disaster relief, broadcasting and internet access.

He said the reallocation of the C-band to mobile would mean the total loss of these critical services, with no possible alternatives.

“Opening the C-band to mobile operators would not herald the expansion of its use for new services. It would mean the end of services, with no guarantee that new mobile services would actually be deployed using this band. It’s a lose-lose scenario and exactly the opposite of the intended goals,” he said.

“Terrestrial operators already have access to a very broad range of spectrum and should be using this first before seeking to acquire more, particularly if this process is carried out at the expense of critical applications.”

The ATU meeting in Abuja is expected to see African states set out their position on access to the C-band, currently widely used for satellite applications.

Separately, Eutelsat has this week signed amulti-year agreement with RPO RMTR, the public broadcaster of the Kyrgyz Republic, that will further the country’s drive to digital switchover.

RPO RMTR is using the Eutelsat 70B satellite to broadcast a free-to-air platform of national channels to digital-terrestrial transmission towers and direct to homes beyond terrestrial reception. One in five of the 1.2 million TV homes in the Kyrgyz Republic is already equipped with a dish.

Comprising four TV and three radio channels, the RPO RMTR platform went live in November and was launched commercially this month. The offer is expected to ramp up rapidly in 2015 to 16 TV and eight radio channels, with further services planned for the future.