Harmful Interference from a Regulatory Perspective


CALL: 2014

DOMAIN: SC - Societal Challenges

FIRST NAME: Mahulena

LAST NAME: Hofmann



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg


START: 2014-06-05

END: 2014-08-04

WEBSITE: https://www.uni.lu

Submitted Abstract

In the last two years, the number of cases of harmful interference (HI) with signals from broadcasting and communication satellites has increased exponentially and on a global scale. This includes deliberate HI intending to disturb or prevent the reception of signals (see e.g. The ITU – challenges in the 21st century: Preventing harmful interference to satellite systems, http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/space/workshops/2013-interference-geneva/Pages/default.aspx). The market reacts through diverse innovations of improved technological, sometime military systems for preventing and combating harmful interference. Our question was how this negative phenomenon can be dealt with on the regulatory level.The workshop has confirmed that HI is the subject of several levels of regulations: On a global level, there are detailed regulations, contained in the Convention and Constitution of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and its Radio Regulations. On the national level, there are the national administrations that have rights and responsibilities stemming from the ITU system. Additionally, the European Union seeks for additional competencies on the use of radio spectrum (see Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council “Connected Continent”, COM (2013) 627 final) which, if agreed upon by the Member States, would also have consequences for the present models of avoiding HI.The workshop tackled the following principal questions: Is the present ITU regulatory system well equipped to prevent and combat HI? What are the legal consequences of non-compliance with its rules? How can national authorities assist to smooth the procedure of avoiding HI? Is the integration of spectrum management on the European level the right path to improve the situation? Are the informal negotiations and agreements between the operators a more effective way to avoid HI? If so, what consequence has this fact for the sustainability of the ITU mechanism?The method of the workshop was an analytical one: It started with a presentation of the phenomenon of HI and its consequences; next contributions analyzed the ITU system de lege lata, including a presentation of recent cases reported by the ITU Radio Regulations Board. The perspective of national administrations was elaborated as well by a representative of a Dutch national authority. The aim was to present the position of the European Union as well – the issue and its development would have a huge impact and bear significance to the whole legal structure of communications in Europe. The discussions were concluded by deliberations de lege ferenda which formulated academic recommendations on how HI can be avoided and combated on the regulatory level in the future. Doing so, the workshop was also relevant on two levels: Firstly, it contributed to the analysis of recent phenomena in the area of space communications which are of crucial significance to Luxembourg and its economy: SES, Intelsat and other operators based in Luxembourg face HI and are important contributors to the country’s economy. Secondly, with the help of the FNR, the University of Luxembourg (SES Chair on Satellite communications and Media Law) seeks to attract the interest of the international scientific community in the area of satellite communication from various perspectives and to offer a platform for high level academic discussions. The previous two Workshops on Satellite Communication Law have already started to establish Luxembourg as a hub and center for such expertise and discourse. The first book from the workshop appeared in 2013, the second is ready for print and the third one is in the process of editing: Organizing an international exploratory workshop on Space Communications from interdisciplinary perspective became now tradition in Luxembourg; for 2015, the participants reserved already the dates, agreed upon the subject and the distribution of the papers. FNR financing is great help.

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