Earth Stations on Vessels (ESV)

For many years satellite communications for ships were limited to services provided by systems operating in the 1.5/1.6 GHz band.  Within the last decade, however, operators have installed terminals on ships which operate in the FSS bands at 4/6 GHz and at 11/12/14 GHz, and are intended to provide broadband data communication services.  These terminals are based on the design of conventional VSAT networks and are known within the ITU as Earth Stations on board Vessels (ESV).

The ECC has developed a process of ESV authorisation which takes into account the requirements of both CEPT administrations and ESV operators, and the international obligations defined in the ITU Radio Regulations.  This process is put into place through ECC Decisions (05)09 and (05)10 "on the free circulation and use of ESV" addressing the 4/6 GHz and the 11/12/14 GHz bands respectively.

According to those Decisions administrations should make the information on the restricted or excluded areas for ESV operations and other requirements (e.g. need for an individual licence, terms of operation in the territorial sea and internal waters etc.) available to operators through the ECO information services. From the other side, ESV operators are also required to register their networks with the ECO and to provide through the ECO information services certain technical and operational data about their networks.

As required by this regulatory framework, the Office has arranged a password-protected access for NRAs (CEPT administrations) to the ESV operators’ data in the ECO Documentation Database (corresponding ZIP files can be downloaded directly from the ECC Decisions’ (05)09 and (05)10 areas in the database).

In return for complying with the requirements of the above mentioned ECC Decisions, ESV are granted free circulation and use, and ESV operators are exempted from the requirement to obtain licences from CEPT administrations which have implemented those Decisions. However, some CEPT administrations may require ESV which are installed on ships registered in their country to be licensed.

Please note that ECC Decisions are implemented by CEPT administrations on a voluntary basis. The current implementation status of ECC Decisions (05)09 and (05)10 can be consulted via the corresponding implementation record (links to the implementation record for ECC/DEC/(05)09 and ECC/DEC/(05)10). These records also contain references to country specific policy guidance on the use of ESV for some CEPT countries which have not implemented the said Decisions.

ECO contact for ESV related enquiries and filing ESV information in the ECO database: 
Thomas Weber,, tel. +45 33 89 63 12



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