SES and Eutelsat are in dispute over the use of satellites around 5 and 7 degrees East. The dispute centres on the Eutelsat W3A satellite, located at 7 degrees East, and which SES says is in breach of existing regulations.
In recent weeks two blank carriers have appeared on Astra 1C, currently in inclined orbit at 5 degrees East and otherwise out of service. However, rather than just stake out the Luxembourg operator’s claim to that part of the orbital arc, interference has also spilt over to the neighbouring Eutelsat W3A at 7 degrees East and the BFBS transmissions to British forces overseas on 11324 V.
An SES spokesman denied there was any malicious intent in the transmissions. “For a number of years, the transmissions have been exceeding the permitted power levels towards the coverage area legally assigned to SES Sirius,” he told Broadband TV News.
The issue has come to a head because of the planned deployment of the recently launched Sirius 4, currently undergoing in orbit testing, before being moved to the established 5 degrees East position. It should also be noted in May Eutelsat deployed its new Eurobird satellite to the neighbouring 4 degrees East.
Eutelsat said that the French authorities, which manage Eutelsat’s orbital allocations on behalf of the Paris-based operator, had given no indication that Eutelsat was operating W3A on any unauthorised frequencies. They also said the co-ordination agreement for satellites at 4 and 7 degrees East had been signed between Eutelsat and SES Sirius forerunner NSAB as long ago as 1997 and sanctioned by the national regulatory authorities of France and Sweden.
Diplomatic relations between Astra and Eutelsat are otherwise cordial. Only a week ago Eutelsat CEO Giuliano Berretta met his Astra counterpart Romain Bausch to discuss their joint mobile TV venture.
Both sides say they are keen to resolve the issue as soon as possible.