Satellite industry safeguards C-band frequency spectrum use at WRC-07

The negotiations will ensure the continued interference-free operation of C-band satellite services essential for the provision of national over-the-air and cable television services.

The global satellite industry emerged recently from four weeks of successful negotiations to protect the users of its C-band spectrum from terrestrial interference. With its unequivocal "no change" campaign, the satellite industry at the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) has ensured its uninterrupted, interference-free use of C-band for the future. The WRC-07 of the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is where 191 EU member representatives assemble every four years to work out the rules by which countries get to use the radio frequency spectrum.

In addition to ensuring uninterrupted use of the C-band, WRC-07 also gave satellite operators assurances that any future IMT (International Mobile Telecommunications) networks would provide them with full protection from interference. The endorsement of the satellite industry's use of this spectrum in the band 3.4GHz-4.2GHz will ensure that operators will also have adequate bandwidth to roll out future service — especially in those regions where they are most in demand, including the developing world, large industrialized countries and remote regions.

The WRC has decided against the global identification for IMT, including WiMAX, in any part of the satellite C-band. In effect, the ITU table of allocations remains unchanged and the limited number of countries in favor of change is identified in an opt-in footnote. With this approach, the world's regulators participating in the WRC have clearly signaled that these bands are not globally harmonized for IMT. The WRC further restricted IMT, including WiMAX, by imposing stringent requirements for the protection of existing and future satellite services in the band, including transborder protection.

This outcome shows recognition of the need for continued interference-free operation of C-band satellite services that are essential for the provision of national over-the-air and cable television services, emergency and disaster recovery communications, Internet services and mobile and wireline telephony trunking services.

The WRC-07 effort included support from governments, international organizations, non-profits and technology companies. Also on offer was terrestrial spectrum below 1GHz resulting from the transition from analogue to digital television, the use of which was promised to mobile network operators in years to come.