SES hails WRC-15 decision on C-band

Astra ses antennasSatellite operator SES has welcomed what it says is a recognition by the just-concluded WRC-15 conference in Geneva of the continued importance of satellite communications by protecting some of the key spectrum used for satellite.

The satellite industry had lobbied heavily for protection of C-band capacity in the run up to WRC-15, and the conference voted for ‘no change’ in the use of the 3600-4200MHz band. In Region 2, covering the Americas,

The lower 200MHz of C-band downlink frequencies – 3400-3600MHz – were however identified for mobile telecommunication use in ITU Regions 1 and 2, covering most of the world except East Asia. In Region 3, only a few countries have signed up to the potential use of this spectrum for mobile applications, but, according to SES, the vast majority of the region will continue to use it for satellite. In Region 2 – EMEA and Russia – a footnote was agreed that identified the 3600-3700MHz band for mobile use in a few countries.

The conference also identified additional spectrum for fixed satellite systems between 10-17GHz in the Ku-band.

To counteract the difficulties encountered in finding additional spectrum for IMT in bands below 6 GHz, WRC-15 decided to include studies in the agenda for the next WRC in 2019 for the identification of bands above 6 GHz that will allow technology to meet demand for greater capacity.

“WRC-15 has been a turning point in the global recognition of the value of satellite services for the future. We commend the national administrations – and the WRC Chairman, Mr. Festus Daudu – for their commitment to connectivity for all,” said a joint statement of a coalition of associations representing the satellite industry.

“These decisions provide the stability necessary for the entire satellite industry to fully leverage its strengths in support of the vision expressed by the WRC delegates.”

WRC-15 last week allocated the 700MHz band of UHF spectrum for mobile broadband in Region 1, but preserved the sought-after sub-700MHz part of the UHF spectrum for digital-terrestrial broadcasting, despite lobbying from the mobile telecom industry.