Carrier Services
CytaGlobal, Dr. Sotiris Alexandrou
Global VSAT Forum, David Hartshorn
ECTA, Innocenzo Genna
Belgacom, Mikaël Schachne
Carrier Services
New Service Delivery
WiMAX Update
Home | Carrier Services | Global VSAT Forum, David Hartshorn
David HartshornEnsuring frequency freedom

David Hartshorn, ISS OF Global VSAT Forum, talks to Intercomms about its success in WRC 07, in helping to protect C-band from IMT interference and their ongoing initiative in this and other areas

David Hartshorn is Secretary General of the GVF, the London-based non-profit international association of the satellite industry. The Global VSAT Forum consists of more than 170 members from every major region of the world and from every sector of the industry, including satellite operators, manufacturers, system integrators, and other service providers.

Mr. Hartshorn leads the Forum's efforts to facilitate the provision of satellite-based communications solutions throughout all nations of the world. In particular, Mr. Hartshorn works closely to support national-, regional- and global-level policy makers as they formulate state-of-the-art satellite regulatory frameworks.

He is also responsible for creating greater awareness of the commercial, economic, political and technological advantages that VSAT-based communications provide.

Mr. Hartshorn has worked in the satellite communications industry for 18 years, serving in sales, business development, publishing, and association offices based in North and Southeast Asia, North America and Western Europe.

He has been published in hundreds of editions of magazines and newsletters, and has spoken and chaired at conferences and seminars in every major region of the world.

Q: How did you build awareness of the threat to Cband satellite services from next generation wireless (IMT) in the run up to WRC 07?
A: We began with unanimously endorsed consensus positions to show a unified front. We established a strategic planning calendar which included every event in the world; meetings of the ITU, conferences and the annual meeting of the WiMAX forum in Spain. For every possible gathering or people where it was important for this issue to be raised we put it in the calendar and then we confirmed speakers from within the Coalition to have a speaking slot. In addition, we also set up a website. 'No Change' became the slogan at WRC 07 campaign against Agenda Item 1.4.- the use of C-band by IMT.

Q: Who were the main supporters from industry?
A: The GVF were instrumental in bringing together, non profit satellite communications associations, which we loosely came to refer to as the Satellite Coalition. They comprised; the GVF, the Asia Pacific Satellite Community Council, the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia, the World Teleport Association, the US - based Satellite Industry Association, the Satellite Users Interference Reduction Group, the Satellite Action Plan Regulatory Working Group, the European Satellite Operators Association and the International Satellite Initiative.

All of these groups have, over the years coordinated on various regulatory, policy and other initiatives. Most have a regional or national focus. On this occasion however it was a global issue that impacted the entire industry and so we brought all of these organisations together under one banner.

Q: What about gathering the empirical evidence of interference?
A: We invited the WiMAX Forum to join us to run side-by-side tests of equipment to evaluate whether there were unacceptable level of interference posed by WiMAX Forum certified WiMAX systems to satellite earth station equipment at C-Band. They were unable to join us in conducting the test. So it carried forward without them. We secured WiMAX certified equipment and with a major assistance from the US Department of Defense and the Satellite Interference Reduction Group, the test was carried out, measurements were made, interference was recorded and confirmed as being at an unacceptable level. That data is now in free circulation as has been so for some time.

Q: How did you make your case in the run up to the WRC?
A: The GVSAT Forum were involved in coordinating the onsite activities to be conducted during WRC. Europe was characterised as wanting to proceed with allowing IMT services in C-band. One of our major concerns was that developing regions would look to Europe as an example of how to proceed in spectrum matters and that Europe's position would undermine our position.

However, if the developing world were to lose C-band then they would have no global beams, which are uniquely provided at C-band via satellite. They would be forced to go to other bands for satellite services at higher frequencies which are more susceptible to rain attenuation and other atmospheric affects.

This would have been catastrophic for many developing regions. We began to go very strongly into those regions and had targeted meetings with countries that were undecided about the opportunity cost associated with any global identification of C-band for IMT services. There was a very effective campaign that was responded to favourably by many administrations. Close in meetings were held with each individual government and they decided not to deploy IMT services at C-band until further notice.

Q: What was the situation at the start of the WRC?
A: By the time we reached Geneva and the doors were opened for WRC 07, it had become apparent to everyone at WRC that Agenda Item 1.4 was the most contentious and hotly contested issue in the entire conference. The terrestrial wireless industry, in particular, was pushing in concerted way for a global identification for IMT at C-band. We responded vigorously on site with a far reaching campaign. During the event we were able to secure formal support from key users groups including the UN's Working Group for Emergency Telecommunications, which represents all the UN agencies. They essentially said that if there was any global identification in C-band for IMT then people would die because, the ability to respond to distress and emergencies would be severely impinged. Likewise there was a lot of support from the World Broadcasting Union International Satellite Operations Group. While they did not make formal stand at the WRC, they were very outspoken throughout the course of our campaign and were instrumental in assisting us. There were others as well, helping on site, so we were there for the entire month. A large team of people who were drawn from a combination of individual companies including Intelsat SCS, Inmarsat, Eutelsat, Asiasat, Meersat and others.

By the end of the first week of WRC, there had been numerous meetings, dinners, close-ins, discussions with nearly all the administrations. On the Friday of the first week, the first major plenary session on agenda item 1.4 was held. This was the occasion in which we would see for the first time the extent to which national administrations would weigh in for or against a global identification for IMT at C-band. As the meeting there was an overwhelming show of support for no-change in C-band, particularly from the emerging regions.

There was opposition to no change, but in each case, when the opposition was made, very forceful and effective counter viewpoints were put forward by the national delegations. By the end of this critical first plenary, it was apparent to everyone at the WRC that there was not going to be a fait accompli for the global identification for IMT at C-band. At that point the IMT camp, again, largely driven by the IMT manufacturers, realised that they were going to have to look at negotiating positions to fall back on.

Q: What was the result?
A: The decision was made that there would not be global identification for IMT at C-band. Those nations who wanted to reserve the right to deploy IMT services in some portion of C-band could do so, but only if they adhered to extremely stringent technical specifications as to how the deployments were made, to prevent interference for satellite services not only in their own nations but neighbouring nations. The stringency of these restrictions means that there would be massive commercial implications for IMT operators.

Q: What are the alternatives to C-band for operators?
A: It is far more attractive for them to deploy IMT in a lower frequency range, well below C-band , which it should be noted is in the IMT operators best interests anyway. Why? Because the lower the frequency range, the further the IMT signal will carry and the fewer base stations are required. Why on earth would they be seeking higher frequency ranges like C-band anyway, when it not in their commercial best interests? It is actually in the commercial best interests of the IMT manufacturers because they would get to sell more base stations.

Q: What happens to 'No-Change' beyond WRC 07?
A: The campaign has not ended. We are now characterising the next phase of the campaign. We are calling this, the Spectrum Security Initiative. The objective is now three fold. One, we want to approach all of governments of the world, so that they are perfectly clear on the social, political and commercial implications of the decision that was made at WRC in regard to Cband. We want governments in those countries who reserve the right to potentially deploy IMT services in C-band to make sure they understand how difficult the technical restrictions are.

Secondly, we are going to the IMT operators and we are going to make the commercial case to deploy in lower frequency bands, so fewer base stations are required and so the lower their costs. Thirdly, we are going out into the world to heighten awareness to all communications stakeholders of the essential nature of satellite service being delivered across all frequencies, not just C-band. But Ka, Ku, C, L, S and X-band too. We are going to do this pro-actively so that the type of near catastrophe that almost occurred at WRC 07, does not occur at the next WRC. That campaign is gearing up right now.

For more information:

Upcoming Events
Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict