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ITU to track satellite interference

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is to address harmful interference with satellite transmissions, including cases of deliberate interference.

At its recently concluded Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan, Korea, member states agreed to support ITU efforts to track reported cases of interference with satellite broadcasts.

Broadcasters have complained that interference has cut them off from audiences in numerous countries and regions over the past several years.

The new action to address the problem was approved on 7 November 2014 by the Plenipotentiary Conference, attended by representatives of 171 countries.

Entitled “Strengthening the role of ITU with regard to transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities”, the agency noted that countries are increasingly relying on space-based communications for a wide variety of services, including remote sensing, communications, and weather forecasting, as well as for bridging the digital divide.

Interference, the ITU assembly noted, makes the delivery of satellite services less reliable, and therefore complicates efforts to bridge the digital divide – efforts which bring enhanced telecommunication services to the developing world.

The Resolution invites the ITU to enter into agreements with satellite monitoring facilities in order to detect the sources of interference, a process known as “geo-location” and it calls upon the ITU to create a database on interference.

The effort to counteract satellite jamming brings together a coalition of broadcasters from a number of countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The EBU and the Arab States Broadcasting Union have also taken a leading role. In addition, satellite operators who have been impacted by the practice – in particular, France’s Eutelsat and Saudi Arabia based Arabsat – have worked with the broadcasters.