Feeds

EU sets out mobile satellite services

Transmissions from space must reach all of Europe

Boost IT visibility and business value

The European Parliament has approved a proposal that demands mobile satellite services reach at least 60 per cent of every country in Europe, and 50 per cent of their populations, in order to get operating spectrum.

The ruling relates to a couple of chunks of spectrum which have been handed to the EU by member countries, for allocation to mobile satellite services on a pan-European basis. The spectrum is around 2GHz, specifically 1980-2010MHz for the up link and 2170-2200MHz for down, with no applicant being allowed to have more than 15MHz for each direction: thus specifying a minimum of two operators.

To qualify for the spectrum those operators will have to reach every country in Europe, with reception possible in 60 per cent of each country's landmass, and by half of their populations.

Quite what these mobile satellite services are isn't clear, however. The EU thinks the services will "improve accessibility, speed, and quality of electronic communications services especially in rural areas", but as long as they are using geostationary satellites the several-second latency inherent in getting a signal 35,000 km up, and down again, makes many of today's internet services impossible to use.

Using satellites in lower orbits reduces that problem, but means using more satellites and replacing them more often, leading to higher costs and more expensive receivers.

To cover those costs you need customers for whom coverage is more important than price: in the USA Mobile Satellite Ventures has just signed up the Department of Homeland Security as a customer for their to-be-launched network, but that will be geostationary and suffer the inevitable latency.

The EU is planning ahead, and the increased use of micro-satellites could make satellite connections to mobile devices more practical, but it's hard to believe they'll ever rival terrestrial systems in any market that can afford to pay for them.

If that's the case then this could be just the kind of thing UK regulator Ofcom is ideologically opposed to - allocating frequencies by use rather than selling them to the highest bidder. It would be a shame to see such a prime chunk of spectrum remain unused 'cos no one wants the internet over a satellite; but as WorldSpace just found out, it's hard to buy the same chunk of spectrum everywhere within your satellite's footprint. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.