Insights Ofcom updates procedures for management of satellite filings.

Ofcom manages satellite filings, i.e. the process for obtaining internationally recognised orbital positions and frequency assignments for satellites, on behalf of companies and other organisations registered in the UK, the British Overseas Territories, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.  To provide clarity, it maintains a set of “Procedures” that explain its approach to managing those filings.  The most recent version of the Procedures was published in 2007.

Ofcom has decided to update the guidance, which is set out in its Procedures, following the consultation it published in April 2015.  The update takes into account changes to the international regulations that govern the process for satellite filings since 2007, including those made by the World Radio Conference in 2015, the experience Ofcom has acquired in applying its Procedures over the last nine years and stakeholder feedback to its April 2015 consultation.

More specifically, Ofcom has decided to:

  • modify the list of deliverables an applicant must provide to Ofcom during the regulatory process of a satellite filing. It will require only those deliverables that are readily available to an applicant;
  • clarify that an applicant should promptly inform Ofcom of any changes to the business plan that may affect its project milestones or the technical parameters of the relevant filings;
  • streamline an applicant’s reporting requirements to Ofcom on its filings before and after bringing them into use. In particular, Ofcom has decided to replace six-monthly reports with annual ones.  Rather than submitting a number of separate reports on each of the filings relevant to them, stakeholders can now submit a single consolidated report;
  • allow, under certain conditions, the notification of a filing even where coordination with UK and/or non-UK satellite networks is not complete;
  • clarify that Ofcom may ask the applicant to provide additional information on the satellite network following a request to bring into use the associated filing(s);
  • clarify that Ofcom’s consideration of whether to notify a satellite filing for a non-geostationary satellite system will depend on the number of satellites deployed;
  • allow, under certain conditions, the transfer of ownership and control of a filing at Advanced Publication Information (API) stage; and
  • clarify what Ofcom may do following an anomaly or relocation of a satellite, including the suspension or cancellation of the relevant frequency assignments.

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