Coordination For Satellite Networks

Presentation / Coordination For Satellite Networks

Date Submitted: 02 October 2001

Written by RPC Telecommunications. Website:

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Covers topics including Satellite Coordination Background, Satellite - Terrestrial and Satellite - Satellite Coordination and the role of the ITU in coordination.

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 Printable Version
-Section 1
Satellite Coordination Background
-Section 2
What Is Coordination?
-Section 3
Key Issues
-Section 4
Frequency Allocations
-Section 5
Satellite - Terrestrial Coordination
-Section 6
Satellite - Satellite Coordination
-Section 7
Key Issues
Some Key Issues...
  • “Paper” satellites
  • Over-filing
  • ITU backlog
  • Due diligence
  • Financial requirements
  • Reform of the ITU process
  • Possible “implosion” of the satellite coordination process
Paper Satellites
Until the end of the 1980’s, almost all filings were made after the design and planning of the satellite. At the start of the 1990s Tonga began filing for orbital filings without specific projects. This was the start of the revolution in filing that has significantly altered the ITU process. Now many administrations file for many more slots than they will or can ever use.
The increase in "paper" satellites has led to a massive over-filing in the ITU process. Most of these filings will never be implemented (they are technically incompatible!). Electronic filing has only made things worse. It is now very easy to make several hundred filings at a single time, if this is desired. The ITU has no ability or mandate to "judge" if a filing is serious. All filings must be processed by the ITU and coordinated by administrations. This is imposing a serious burden on all concerned.
ITU Backlog
A key effect of over-filing is a significant increase in the ITU backlog. Ten years ago the time from ITU receipt to publication was 4 to 6 months, today it is 2 to 3 years! The time for completion of coordination has been reduced; before 1997 it was effectively 9 years. Now it is 5 years with a limited 2 year extension. Thus it is now almost impossible to complete coordination within the time limits. This is a serious burden on administrations and operators that are planning real networks.
Due Diligence
To try and improve the situation, WRC-97 adopted an "Administrative Due Diligence" procedure. Information about the manufacture and launch contracts must be provided for all networks within the regulatory time limit but this is having little impact on the situation. The information is very general and the ITU has no policing function. Many administrations are supplying this data "creatively".
Financial Requirements
Some administrations have been suggesting that deposits and fees should be payable to make satellite filings e.g. US$ 1M to make a filing, returnable if the network is launched. This has not found acceptance in the ITU membership as it is seen as penalising the poor and small countries. “Cost recovery” of processing and publication has been adopted however none of this impacts the backlog!
Reform Of The ITU Process
Some attempts have been made to reform the ITU process and deal with the backlog but there is no consensus in the ITU as to how this should be done. How to be fair to all administrations? How to change things without penalising the networks in the backlog? How to stop the massive over-filing?
Possible "implosion" of the satellite coordination process.
Clearly the system cannot go on as it is. The backlog is increasing, not diminishing. Soon the coordination requests will be published after the networks have expired! ITU will address this again at Plenipotentiary Conference in 2002 and WRC-2003 but as of yet there is still no emerging consensus as to how to change things in a way that can be accepted by a majority of members.

Next: Section 4 - Frequency Allocations


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