Avanti Communicatons has received confirmation from the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau that the ITU filing for the use of spectrum by Hylas 2 at 31 degrees East location (where the satellite is currently located) has been accepted and notified in accordance with ITU rules.
In a statement, the London-based satellite operator, Avanti Communications, noted that it had received confirmation from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Radiocommunication Bureau, which advises the deciding ITU Radio Regulations Board, that the ITU filing for the use of spectrum by Hylas 2 at 31 degrees East location (where the satellite is currently located) has been accepted and notified in accordance with ITU rules. Avanti confirms that the satellite has now passed its in orbit testing phase and is now ready for operations.
The ITU Radio Regulations Board declined to rule on the protest from SES noting that it had arrived to late to be considered at the current meeting by may be reconsidered in November.
Media sources previously disclosed that the Government of Luxembourg has asked it to deny a licence to the London-based Avanti Communicaitions to take control of the 31 degrees East location over the equator given that its Hylas 2 communications satellite did not make it into its position by its May deadline (the satellite was launched in August after a manufacturing-related satellite testing delay). Officially the protest is over the potential interference to SES's Astra 5B satellite which will be located at a nearby slot. Luxembourg is the base for thte international satellite operator SES.
Government of the United Kingdom via its OFCOM (Office of Communications) regulatory body, protested noting that the Hylas 1 satellite did operate from this 31 degrees East slot for 16 days in early 2011 before taking up its own 33.5 degrees West slot. Subsequent to this stay, the ITU changed its own rules noting that slots could only satisfy the "brought into use" with a full 90 day stay. The rules were tightened to stop firms and nations from block booking valuable orbital locations without having real satellites to operate from them and then placing some of their other satellites (sometimes leased for the purpose) at the said locations for just a few days.
Avanti's Hylas 2 spacecraft is to provide broadband services over Europe and Africa. Courtesy: Avanti Communications
This dispute is not the only one being decided at the ITU. While the Government of Iran has now missed its 14 July deadline to have a satellite operating from its 34 degrees East position in the Geostationary orbital arc, it pleaded with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Regulations Board to be allowed to retain the slot for its planned Zohreh 1 satellite, given that it declared that it had leased an unnamed satellite to broadcast from the posItion. However, with Iran providing no documentary evidence to support this, the ITU Radio Regulations Board has removed Iran's right to the 34 degrees East location.
The ITU declined to rule on the dispute between the pan-Arabic operator Arabsat (supported by Saudia Arabia and Iran, and Eutelsat (supported by Qatar) over potential satellite interference issues concerned with the the locations over 25-26 degrees East.