The frequency coordination of satellite networks is a complex process in which the administrations engage in technical negotiations to ensure harmonious operation of two or more satellite networks. The parties involved in the satellite frequency coordination tries their best to make sure (to the extent possible) that the operation of new satellite network entering into the densely populated satellite market neither causes nor receives interference above a permissible level from another satellite network having overlapping frequency band and or coverage under specified conditions. The exercise of frequency coordination can take place at various levels such as at the operator’s level or at the administration’s level as mutually agreed. The sole purpose of satellite frequency coordination is to arrive at mutually acceptable solution between effected parties through bilateral or multilateral negotiations. It is important to mention that the final authority for signing an agreement of frequency coordination rests with the administration who has actually filed the satellite network with ITU and not with the operator. The operators of two sides may sign the agreement reached during the meeting at operator’s level requiring final approval of the respective administrations. The main objective behind satellite frequency coordination is to allow the entry of new satellite networks into the system of already operational satellites and provide them with equal opportunity to compete, without having adverse effects on existing systems.
It is an established fact that orbital slots in geo-stationary earth orbit and associated radio spectrum are two prime examples of scarce resources in the modern world of wireless communications. In order to have access to the scarce orbital slot in geo-stationary earth orbit and to make sure that proposed new satellite network would not cause harmful interference to the already operational or planned satellite networks and terrestrial services of other administrations, the ITU-R Radio Regulations necessitate that the new satellite network must be coordinated with all other radiocommunication systems that might be affected due to its proposed operation. It can be concluded that access to orbital positions and the establishment of international rights in that respect is hinged on the successful culmination of applicable international satellite network frequency coordination, notification and recording procedures. The said procedures are outlined in detail in various Articles and Appendices of the ITU-R Radio Regulations as amended from time to time. As per these procedures of ITU, the administrations of new satellite network are required to effect frequency coordination with already operational/ planned satellite and terrestrial networks of other countries that might be affected. The successful frequency coordination of a satellite network is very much dependent on the nature of the newly proposed satellite network, the environment in which the proposed network intends to operate (meaning the orbital position, spectrum and intended coverage area on the surface of earth). The level of expertise and negotiating skills of the team that the selected applicant brings to the negotiation table also plays a very vital role in frequency coordination. In addition to above, the coordination mechanisms defined in Radio Regulations ensure that the same portion of radio spectrum can be reused to the extent possible from each agreed orbital position in geo-stationary satellite orbit, without any interference from one satellite to the other, thus resulting in a much more efficient use of the scarce resources, which is also the ultimate goal behind the development of Radio Regulations by international community through a very lengthy and time consuming process.
The frequency assignments associated to particular orbital slot that conform to the Radio Regulations upon successful conclusion of the frequency coordination process, receive international recognition/ rights in the form of their recording/ entry in Master International Frequency Register (MIFR) maintained by ITU as derived from the Provisions of Article-8.
The spectrum managers vested with the responsibility of satellite frequency coordination are required to be very well equipped in order to effectively undertake the above mentioned intricate task of satellite frequency coordination both in terms of skills and modern tools (hardware and software).
FAB being the designated notifying administration of Pakistan for satellite networks at ITU is responsible for the satellite frequency coordination of national satellites with other administrations for their affected services whether space or terrestrial. The well equipped professional staff of N&IC Wing of FAB is discharging this duty of satellite frequency coordination with full commitment and devotion. To this effect, FAB has successfully completed the frequency coordination and registration process for the frequency assignments of PAKSAT Satellite Networks at orbital location of 38ºE in the un-planned bands.