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Background print

In the last decade or so, there has been an unprecedented increase worldwide in the total number of terrestrial and space radio stations used for the provision of different services. The new wireless services require more and more radio spectrum due to high data rate demands of the market and this demand is ever increasing. One other factor is that the tremendous growth of radio stations has also resulted in demand for more radio spectrum. There has been a significance increase in the number of frequency assignments registered with ITU in the last few years than during the whole previous history of radiocommunications. The introduction of most recent services and technologies has been mainly attributed towards the liberalization, privatization, competition, and deregulation of the telecom markets in the world. The satellite communications can surely fulfill the promise of universal worldwide communication services accessible anywhere, anytime, and at affordable cost to the end users. The introduction of new wireless technologies would not only facilitate human lives but would also provide a boost to the current shaky global economy.

One of the foremost difficulties the radiocommunication is confronting in today’s world is the apparent orbit congestion and scarcity of radio frequencies. Looking at the frequency assignments status worldwide, it is obvious that most of the prime radio spectrum have already been used in many regions of the world. Therefore, there is no further place for new radio stations and new services in those frequency bands and geographical areas. The situation for satellites in the geo-stationary earth orbit is not more different. So this current situation in terms of congestion in radio spectrum and orbital positions is very alarming for the respective managers of the scarce resources. The ever increasing disproportion between the demand and availability for radio spectrum & orbital positions, invites immediate attention of the international community for proper planning and management as it deserves.

Satellite services are becoming more and more important for the business, social and scientific applications, offering a unique ability to deliver communications to all those parts of the world not adequately served by other means of communications. In order to operate a satellite network, it is mandatory to gain access to the radio spectrum to be used as a mean for transporting data to and from the satellite and the earth. In addition to the radio spectrum, the satellite would also require a parking slot in the geo-stationary earth orbit. It is important to mention that the orbital position in the geo orbit will certainly influence the area of the globe that may be illuminated from that particular orbital location. While looking at the scarcity of radio spectrum, the demand for the same is growing day by day since new wireless technologies (both mobile and broadband are at the forefront in terms of spectrum demand) are developed. To satisfy the spectrum requirement of new innovative wireless technologies, the job of spectrum managers is getting harder and harder to identify new frequencies for the delivery of new communications services. The portion of geo-stationary orbit where placing a satellite can provide services to commercially more attractive markets of the world is almost congested, so it is very hard to find an orbital slot in the said portion of geo orbit. It is evident that if the radio spectrum and associated orbital slots are not used with utmost efficiency; the competition, innovation and growth in communications services will be finished. It is necessary that the radio spectrum and associated orbital positions needs to be managed in such a manner that adequate separations are maintained between satellites in order to ensure interference free operation. Due to the international nature of satellite services, the frequency coordination of satellites also takes place within regulatory framework developed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).