Eutelsat Chief Worried about Glut of National Telecom Satellites

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PARIS — The proliferation of national telecommunications satellites in Africa, Asia and Latin America is a waste of resources that will introduce unhealthy pressure on the global satellite industry, Eutelsat Chief Executive Michel de Rosen said.

Addressing the Global Space Applications Conference in Paris June 2 organized by the International Astronautical Federation, de Rosen said some nations are buying telecommunications satellites as if they were high-end sports cars.

“Satellites are considered as prestigious,” de Rosen said. “Some countries are tempted to have their own satellites. This is a waste of money, of spectrum resources, of energy and it creates unfair and unnecessary competition for the other satellites.”

Recognizing that it is powerless to stop the trend, Paris-based Eutelsat — the world’s third-largest commercial fleet operator by revenue — has struck partnerships with Nilesat of Egypt, Turkey’s Turksat and, more recently, with the government of Afghanistan, which has signaled that it, too, wants its own telecommunications satellite.

Without mentioning any specific nation, de Rosen said regulation of the satellite sector at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency, is not as effective as it should be.

“The ITU has a difficult task in managing the orbital resources. Sometimes it is difficult for the ITU to resist very aggressive lobbying from countries that do not respect ITU rules, but say: ‘I am a sovereign nation, I do it my way.’”

 

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