NEW SKIES IN MEXICAN-DUTCH SLOT WAR
A dispute between Mexico and the Netherlands and their respective satellite companies over an unoccupied slot on the geostationary arc is going to be resolved in the old fashioned way – by occupation.
Mexico and the sole Mexican satellite carrier, Satellites Mexicanos (Satmex) plan to occupy the disputed slot at 105 degrees West as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands has filed with the International Telecommuni-cation Union for use of the slot, and that country’s lone satellite carrier, New Skies Satellite wants to position its NSS 8 spacecraft at the same location.
The two administrations – the Mexican Secretariat of Communications and Transportation and the Radio Communications Agency of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Transport Public Works and Water – have been jousting over the 105 degrees West slot through the ITU’s satellite filing procedures. Essentially, each one claims precedence for its own filing.
New Skies’ spokeswoman did not return a phone call seeking comment on the Satmex’s plan and has previously declined to comment on it.
In the latest development at the ITU, the agency’s Radio Regulation Board has reinstated the Mexican government’s position as having filed for the 105 Degrees West slot, according to Roger Jones, chief of the Radio Communications Bureau.
Mexico had previously lost its position because it failed to file required papers, Jones said, but the board decided that it was not the Mexican government’s fault. It is now up to the two governments to negotiate with each other over their respective positions and settle the dispute between themselves, Jones said.