The Global VSAT Forum is playing a vital role in promoting satellite’s arguments in the C-band debate. The association of key companies involved in elivering digital fixed satellite systems and services to consumers, commercial and government enterprises, has stepped up in terms of C-band and continues to be a strong presence promoting satellite interests here. David Hartshorn, secretary general, Global VSAT Forum, tells Via Satellite why the potential loss of spectrum could be a matter “of life and death" for the satellite industry.
Via Satellite: What is your take on the demands for C-band spectrum resources and the competing arguments of telecoms and satellite players? Can the two sides reach a compromise?Hartshorn
: There are two critical issues in play right now: Communications companies and governments throughout the world have been reporting numerous incidents where satellite telecom and broadcasting services are being severely disrupted by interference from terrestrial wireless services in the “extended” and standard C-band frequencies – 3.4 to 4.2 gigahertz. Meanwhile, major terrestrial-wireless interests are lobbying for C-band spectrum to be reallocated for next-generation broadband wireless access and IMT 2000 services to the exclusion of satellite services. If these efforts are successful, it would represent a loss of billions of dollars per year and a severe blow to the millions of users that have come to depend upon C-band satellite services throughout the world.
Is there a middle ground? Our organization has held extensive discussions with the WiMax Forum in an effort to come to a mutual understanding of this issue and, surprisingly, there is not much disagreement regarding compatibility. Indeed, our organizations agree that adjacent operation of satellite and terrestrial-wireless services in C-band will cause unacceptable levels of interference. Independent tests conducted by various governments have also reached the same conclusion.
Further, there is a growing recognition by national administrations that various techniques proposed to mitigate this interference — shielding, filters, 150-kilometer exclusion zones, and so on — are completely impractical both from a financial and a logistical standpoint. This is largely because there are millions of satellite earth stations operating at C-band throughout the world. The sheer scale and density of these system deployments precludes the application of shielding, filters or exclusion zones. Terrestrial-wireless interests need to pursue spectrum other than C-band.