CSI Report 

Executive Summary 

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:

In order to improve the situation, the following proposals are made in the report:

General proposals

Based on the present report, the following proposals are made, aiming at improving the conditions for licensing of satellite systems in CEPT:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 coverage.
  6. 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.
  7. Proposals for simplification of licensing procedures should be developed.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Detailed proposals

In addition, the following detailed proposals are made:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. BSS(S)/S-DAB
    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.

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