This report is an overview of satellite licensing in CEPT starting from the
present scenario of what is in place, looking more particularly into measures
adopted by CEPT and analysing the licensing regime of some CEPT countries and
the questions asked from licence applicants by NRAs, in order to propose
harmonised licensing nomenclatura, conditions and procedures.
Licensing regimes for satellite earth stations and services across CEPT
countries are characterised by diversity and complexity. This report does not
examine licensing of satellite space stations.
The key problems regarding licensing of satellite systems in Europe, as
identified by the industry itself, are:
- Lack of implementation of CEPT measures in the large majority of CEPT
- Large differences between CEPT countries in the number and substance of
- Onerous conditions for obtaining permission to operate a satellite station
in many countries with respect to processing time, licence fees and other
In order to improve the situation, the following proposals are made in the
Based on the present report, the following proposals are made, aiming at
improving the conditions for licensing of satellite systems in CEPT:
- The degree of implementation in CEPT countries of existing ERC and ECTRA
measures, as well as application of OSS procedures, for the satellite sector
should be improved. This could be supported by giving regular updates on
national implementation, annual reports on implementation, or other means of
informing administrations of implementation. Administrations are asked for
other proposals on how to speed up implementation.
- Without prejudice to Art. 19 of the EU Licensing Directive which specifies
the authorisation procedures for new services, the CEPT administrations
should facilitate recognition of ERC Decisions as grounds for issuing
temporary or provisional authorisations for services and networks until
those Decisions are formally implemented into national law or regulations.
- A package of existing CEPT measures relating to the satellite sector could
be developed, so that it could be promoted as a whole, thereby easing the
implementation burden on a national level. An information effort towards key
persons in administrations might be useful to forward this idea.
- The countries listed in paragraph 6.6 with recommended licensing
procedures can be used as an example for others to try and create simplified
licensing procedures across all CEPT countries.
- In the medium to longer term, satellite industry would like to see even
simpler licensing conditions than those used by the countries mentioned
above, for instance with more emphasis on general authorisations or
exemption from individual licensing of terminals. Some of those measures are
already covered by the Authorisation Directive, part of the Rev 99. However,
for those satellite networks and services that would still be subject to
individual licences, industry has urged movement towards lighter licensing
regimes, simplification and harmonisation of authorisations. This is
particularly important because of the international nature of satellite
- Telecommunications authorities are encouraged to co-ordinate with other
domestic authorities that have a say in the siting of Earth Station
terminals. The aim would be to minimise the constraints and additional time
delays which can result from requirements placed by other authorities.
- Proposals for simplification of licensing procedures should be developed.
- CEPT should consider improved transparency and earlier consultation in the
Decision-making processes, especially with respect to consumer and small
business enterprises that may not otherwise be aware of CEPT activities.
- CEPT should aim towards extending further the elements of harmonised
conditions, possibly in areas such as bands and agreed power limits or for
site clearance conditions and co-ordination or other technical requirements
to reduce further the need for individual licensing.
In addition, the following detailed proposals are made:
- Nature of future decisions
Up to now many Decisions concerned company-specific products such as
EUTELTRACS whereas more recent Decisions, like the Decision on the Exemption
from Individual Licensing of VSATs cover earth terminals which meet specific
technical requirements, usually harmonised standards (European Norms or
"ENs") from ETSI. There are advantages in having such generic
Decisions, also based on harmonised standards, both for the ERC and also for
satellite operators, since one Decision can cover several product names.
Harmonised standards provides a presumption that the functioning of radio
systems is in compliance with essential requirements, in compatibility with
international norms, notably guaranteeing no harmful interference, efficient
use of orbital resources and limited health hazards. They ought to pave the
way to easy licensing regime, as it is reflected in the European Union R&TTE
Directive and as it should be in future ERC Decisions. It is therefore also
recommended that future Decisions on Licence Exemption as well as "Free
Carriage and Use" be based on equipment classes meeting particular ETSI
standards rather than on specific manufacturers' product names.
- SNG operating in the 14.25-14.50 GHz band
In several European countries the frequency band from 14.25-14.50 GHz is
shared between the FSS and the terrestrial fixed service. In some countries
the procedures for obtaining permission to have SNG transmissions in this
band can be onerous and time-consuming. In other countries the procedures
have been simplified by defining zones in a country where interference from
SNG transmissions is unlikely to cause problems and this enables
authorisations to be issued rapidly. In those countries where sharing
exists, Administrations are requested to apply the principle of zoning to
reduce the delays for authorisation.
- Restoration services
Satellite facilities can be an attractive solution providing restoration
services. The licensing environment within the CEPT administrations should
be made favourable for such solutions.
- Licence duration
In some countries the duration of a licence for permanent earth stations is
granted only for a period of one or a few years, renewable. This can have a
negative impact when decisions are being made by the operator about the new
investment since the earth terminals will not be amortised for a period less
than 6 years. For VSATs, large gateway stations or TV up-link stations, the
licence duration should be for a period of at least 10 years, the period may
be shorter in the case when automatic renewal is foreseen.
- Terminology and nomenclatura
The adoption of a common terminology across CEPT would be one important
step towards harmonisation in the satellite area, and facilitating market
access. As an example, in national legislation, the definition of a VSAT
could be aligned with that of ETSI, which is also given in TBR 28 and EN 301
428. In other words, there should be a reference to the maximum antenna size
but no reference to the bit-rate or bandwidth employed. This would make it
possible for modern VSAT accessing techniques to be authorised adequately,
as systems that have low overall data throughput may be used for
transmitting high bit rates but only for a very short period.
- VSAT bands
One of the current ERC Decisions on licence exemption, the ERC Decision (00)
05 grants exemption from individual licensing of VSATs operating in the
14.0-14.25 GHz band. The band 14.0-14.25 GHz is allocated to satellite
services on an exclusive basis. However, in many CEPT countries the
contiguous band 14.25-14.50 GHz is also allocated to satellite services on
an exclusive basis. In fact CEPT ERC Rec. 13-03 of 1996 recommends
unrestricted use of the band to satellite services in those countries where
no fixed links have been implemented before 1996.
Several countries that belong to this group and that do not have fixed
services in the 14.25-14.50 GHz have already signalled their intention of
applying Dec (00)05 across the entire band of 14.00-14.50 GHz.
Those countries which do not have fixed services in the frequency band
14.25-14.50 GHz should be encouraged to, in practice, apply the Decision
(00)05 on the exemption from individual licensing of VSATs operating in the
14.0-14.25 GHz band to the entire band of 14.00-14.50 GHz.
It is recommended that ERC tasks WGRR to produce a similar Decision for the
band 14.25 - 14.50 GHz.
There are several proposals to introduce 1.4 GHz BSS(S)/S-DAB services in
Europe. Unlike the regulatory framework which exists at a CEPT level for
introduction of such pan-European services as S-PCS, UMTS etc, there is a
general lack of an appropriate common or harmonised framework for in
particular spectrum access at a CEPT level to facilitate the introduction of
pan-European S-DAB/BSS(S) services. It is recommended that ERC/ECTRA
consider this issue within JPT SAT with a view to taking appropriate action.
Chapter 7.3 lists areas for further work.