The long running dispute between satellite operators SES and Eutelsat is over, as a series of agreements are reached between the two companies affecting who and how satellite services are delivered to the British Isles and beyond.
Last October, the dispute resulted in numerous Sky and Freesat channels changing frequencies following a court ruling in Germany, which prohibited Eutelsat from broadcasting numerous satellite services on a band of frequencies that SES claimed rights over. Sky and Freesat had to update their Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) to point receivers first to temporary and then permanent new frequencies, minimising disruption to viewers.
Both Eutelsat and SES claimed rights over a block of frequencies (11.45 – 11.70 GHz and 12.50 – 12.75 GHz) – totaling 500 MHz – to use for satellite services at the UK/Ireland satellite orbital postition 28.2/5 degrees East. Eutelsat used to broadcast satellite services in this frequency band from its Eutelsat 28A satellite.
Eutelsat and SES settle their dispute and conclude a series of agreements concerning the 28.5 degrees East orbital position
Luxembourg, Paris, 30 January 2014 – Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) and SES (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) announced today that the two companies have concluded a series of agreements including a comprehensive settlement of legal proceedings concerning the right to operate at the 28.5 degrees East orbital position and containing long-term commercial as well as frequency coordination elements.
The first agreement ends the arbitral procedure between Eutelsat and SES that was initiated in October 2012 under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris. The dispute concerned a right of use of 500 MHz spectrum at the 28.5 degrees East orbital position. Eutelsat ceased to operate this spectrum on 3 October 2013 and SES has operated this spectrum since that date. The dispute over this right of use has now been resolved, with SES continuing to operate its satellites at this location, and Eutelsat independently commercialising part of the capacity of the previously disputed frequencies.
According to the second agreement between both companies, Eutelsat has therefore contracted long-term satellite capacity on the SES satellite fleet at the 28.5 degrees East orbital position. Eutelsat will commercialise over Europe on the SES fleet 125 MHz (eight transponders) of the formerly disputed 500 MHz. Eutelsat will also commercialise on the SES fleet the 250 MHz (12 transponders) which was not the subject of the legal proceedings. The 20 transponders will be operated on three new satellites which SES is deploying at the 28.2/28.5 degrees East neighbourhood – ASTRA 2F, ASTRA 2E and ASTRA 2G – of which the first two have been launched and are operational, while the third is planned for launch later this year.
The third agreement between the two companies addresses technical frequency coordination under the rules of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It will allow both parties an optimised use of their respective spectrum at a number of orbital positions over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It confirms and clarifies in technical terms the geographic coverage and transmission power levels for frequencies at these positions.
Michel de Rosen, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat, said: “Guided by key objectives to deliver clients impeccable service and to optimise spectrum use, Eutelsat and SES have taken a pragmatic and business-like approach to reaching this settlement. These long-term agreements clarify the conditions for interference-free operations, enabling each company to independently expand its commercial activity in a competitive environment. Eutelsat is committed to delivering innovative services at one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods in the broadcasting market and can now further improve the productivity of its in-orbit resources and future investments.”
“The agreements with Eutelsat create a secure framework for operations in major broadcasting and data markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa”, said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “They are beneficial for our whole industry and, above all, for our customers and end users as they experience optimal satellite services. The agreements allow SES to fully leverage its satellite and fleet investments and operate its assets and frequency spectrum efficiently. We can focus on further commercialising our satellite capacity and ensuring excellent services for customers and users worldwide.
source : eutelsat.com/home/news/press-releases/2014/press-list-container/eutelsat-and-ses-settle-their-di.html
Both companies released details of three agreements today, bringing the dispute to an end: Under the terms of the first two agreements, the arbitral procedure between Eutelsat and SES that was initiated in October 2012 under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris has been concluded.
Eutelsat will hire satellite capacity from SES, consisting of 8 transponders covering 125 MHz of the disputed 500 MHz, plus additional capacity consisting of 12 transponders, covering a 250 MHz band of frequencies that weren’t in dispute.
The deal is expected to see services such as the Freesat EPG, NHK World, CBS Drama, Bloomberg and True Movies 1 and 2, currently broadcast on the last 12 remaining live transponders on the Eutelsat 28A satellite moving across to SES-operated satellites, including Astra 2E, F and the forthcoming Astra 2G.
The Eutelsat 28A satellite is widely seen as getting towards the end of its operational life.