Spectrum conflicts threaten Africa's sat industry: GVF

11 Sep 2006

The Global VSAT Forum has launched a global campaign to protect the wavelengths used by C-Band operators in Africa, where brewing spectrum conflicts could soon boil over.

In a recent letter to its members, the GVF said: "The purpose of this letter is to make you aware of a significant technical threat to your business," referring to the "extended" C-band frequencies (3.4 to 3.7 GHz) that have already been identified by several national administrations for use by new services like broadband wireless access (BWA) and WiMAX. Other administrations are also looking to deploy these new terrestrial services in the "standard" C-band frequencies (3.7 to 4.2 GHz).

Hong Kong regulator OFTA, having recently examined a similar situation, concluded that deployment of BWA services in the 3.5 GHz band would lead to interference problems in the entire C-band (3.4 - 4.2 GHz) unless technical constraints such as geographic separation and the use of LNB filters were implemented - which would be costly for both BWA operators and FSS users.

The GVF is also concerned that the ITU-R Working Party 8F has included the 3.4 to 4.2 GHz frequency range as a potential candidate band for terrestrial mobile services.

The GVF recommends that operators make the case against assigning C-band frequencies to BWA and WiMAX whenever possible. The organization also suggests that operators register their receive-only and transmitting earth stations that operate in the extended and standard C-band frequencies with their local telecom regulatory authority wherever possible, 'so that they can be afforded the proper protection against interference'.

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