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Satellite

Industry Experts Fight Over Whether Satellite Tech Should Monopolize 12 GigaHertz Band

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Photocollage of V. Noah Campbell of RS Access and Ruth Pritchard-Kelly of WorldVu Satellites Limited by Broadband Breakfast

March 8, 2021—Experts are divided about how the 12 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum should be utilized in the wake of the historic C Band auction, which would primarily be used by satellite technologies.

Representatives from some of the largest wireless providers quarreled in a lively exchange on March 4 as part of a panel hosted by the Federal Communications Bar Association. While panelists agreed that the 12 GHz band was an invaluable resource, that was about all they could agree on.

The crux of the debate is whether satellite technologies in low-earth orbit require all of the 12 GHz band, or whether there is room for sharing the frequencies.

Noah Campbell, the CEO of RS Access, LLC, said he believes companies like Amazon and SpaceX that utilize non-geostationary satellites – which hover closer to the earth’s service – have a serious role to play in bridging the digital divide.

But he also argued that other services, including mobile and video, require access to the band, and that satellite services should be able to find spectrum for their services in other bands.

Ruth Pritchard-Kelly, senior advisor to for WorldVu Satellites Limited, testily said Campbell “could do with a little history,” and asked him if he had ever worked on a satellite before. Campbell responded that while he had not, his company has engineers who had.

In arguing for satellite exclusivity of the 12 GHz spectrum, Pritchard-Kelly said satellites in orbit cannot simply switch from Ku frequencies to Ka frequencies. She explained that some satellites are designed to remain in orbit for upwards of a decade, and that it is not easy to simply switch bands.

She said arguing that not all the Ku band is being used is like saying, “I’m not using all nine pints of blood in my body—actually the satellites need all 500 megahertz.” She said that is what her company is licensed for, and that is how they have coordinated their satellites to operate.

When Campbell stated that it seemed like Pritchard-Kelly was worked up about the issue, Pritchard-Kelly declared, “I am paid to be worked up about it.”

Pritchard-Kelly said that even though finding and securing bandwidth is an ongoing issue, she is hopeful “the engineers work it out.” She conceded that sharing would only be possible if the engineers are able to find a way to do so without compromising mobility.

Campbell said he would appreciate coordination between their two companies to solve the problem.

“Have your engineers call our engineers—we’re happy to have this discussion with you.”

As a child of American parents working abroad, Reporter Ben Kahn was raised as a third culture kid, growing up in five different countries, including the U.S.. He is a recent graduate of the University of Baltimore, where he majored in Policy, Politics, and International Affairs. He enjoys learning about foreign languages and cultures and can now speak poorly in more than one language.

Satellite

Satellite Operators and Broadband Entrants Vie for Primacy as FCC Debates the 12 GigaHertz Band

Will the 12 GHz band be opened for 5G uses or remain exclusively for satellite services?

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Visualization of spectrum from the Australian Department of Infrastructure

March 8, 2021—Experts are divided about how the 12 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum should be utilized in the wake of the historic C Band auction, which would primarily be used by satellite technologies.

Representatives from some of the largest wireless providers quarreled in a lively exchange on March 4 as part of a panel hosted by the Federal Communications Bar Association. While panelists agreed that the 12 GHz band was an invaluable resource, that was about all they could agree on.

The crux of the debate is whether satellite technologies in low-earth orbit require all of the 12 GHz band, or whether there is room for sharing the frequencies.

Noah Campbell, the CEO of RS Access, LLC, said he believes companies like Amazon and SpaceX that utilize non-geostationary satellites – which hover closer to the earth’s service – have a serious role to play in bridging the digital divide.

But he also argued that other services, including mobile and video, require access to the band, and that satellite services should be able to find spectrum for their services in other bands.

Ruth Pritchard-Kelly, senior advisor to for WorldVu Satellites Limited, testily said Campbell “could do with a little history,” and asked him if he had ever worked on a satellite before. Campbell responded that while he had not, his company has engineers who had.

In arguing for satellite exclusivity of the 12 GHz spectrum, Pritchard-Kelly said satellites in orbit cannot simply switch from Ku frequencies to Ka frequencies. She explained that some satellites are designed to remain in orbit for upwards of a decade, and that it is not easy to simply switch bands.

She said arguing that not all the Ku band is being used is like saying, “I’m not using all nine pints of blood in my body—actually the satellites need all 500 megahertz.” She said that is what her company is licensed for, and that is how they have coordinated their satellites to operate.

When Campbell stated that it seemed like Pritchard-Kelly was worked up about the issue, Pritchard-Kelly declared, “I am paid to be worked up about it.”

Pritchard-Kelly said that even though finding and securing bandwidth is an ongoing issue, she is hopeful “the engineers work it out.” She conceded that sharing would only be possible if the engineers are able to find a way to do so without compromising mobility.

Campbell said he would appreciate coordination between their two companies to solve the problem.

“Have your engineers call our engineers—we’re happy to have this discussion with you.”

Continue Reading

Expert Opinion

Gary Bolton: Satellite’s Polite Conceit of Unserved/Underserved

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Gary Bolton, President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association and author of this Expert Opinion piece

March 8, 2021—Experts are divided about how the 12 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum should be utilized in the wake of the historic C Band auction, which would primarily be used by satellite technologies.

Representatives from some of the largest wireless providers quarreled in a lively exchange on March 4 as part of a panel hosted by the Federal Communications Bar Association. While panelists agreed that the 12 GHz band was an invaluable resource, that was about all they could agree on.

The crux of the debate is whether satellite technologies in low-earth orbit require all of the 12 GHz band, or whether there is room for sharing the frequencies.

Noah Campbell, the CEO of RS Access, LLC, said he believes companies like Amazon and SpaceX that utilize non-geostationary satellites – which hover closer to the earth’s service – have a serious role to play in bridging the digital divide.

But he also argued that other services, including mobile and video, require access to the band, and that satellite services should be able to find spectrum for their services in other bands.

Ruth Pritchard-Kelly, senior advisor to for WorldVu Satellites Limited, testily said Campbell “could do with a little history,” and asked him if he had ever worked on a satellite before. Campbell responded that while he had not, his company has engineers who had.

In arguing for satellite exclusivity of the 12 GHz spectrum, Pritchard-Kelly said satellites in orbit cannot simply switch from Ku frequencies to Ka frequencies. She explained that some satellites are designed to remain in orbit for upwards of a decade, and that it is not easy to simply switch bands.

She said arguing that not all the Ku band is being used is like saying, “I’m not using all nine pints of blood in my body—actually the satellites need all 500 megahertz.” She said that is what her company is licensed for, and that is how they have coordinated their satellites to operate.

When Campbell stated that it seemed like Pritchard-Kelly was worked up about the issue, Pritchard-Kelly declared, “I am paid to be worked up about it.”

Pritchard-Kelly said that even though finding and securing bandwidth is an ongoing issue, she is hopeful “the engineers work it out.” She conceded that sharing would only be possible if the engineers are able to find a way to do so without compromising mobility.

Campbell said he would appreciate coordination between their two companies to solve the problem.

“Have your engineers call our engineers—we’re happy to have this discussion with you.”

Continue Reading

Satellite

Experts Investigating Starlink Are Not Convinced that Elon Musk’s Satellite Project Provides Rural Broadband Solution

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Photo of Cartesian Vice President Michael Dargue from February 2015 by Telecom Finance

March 8, 2021—Experts are divided about how the 12 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum should be utilized in the wake of the historic C Band auction, which would primarily be used by satellite technologies.

Representatives from some of the largest wireless providers quarreled in a lively exchange on March 4 as part of a panel hosted by the Federal Communications Bar Association. While panelists agreed that the 12 GHz band was an invaluable resource, that was about all they could agree on.

The crux of the debate is whether satellite technologies in low-earth orbit require all of the 12 GHz band, or whether there is room for sharing the frequencies.

Noah Campbell, the CEO of RS Access, LLC, said he believes companies like Amazon and SpaceX that utilize non-geostationary satellites – which hover closer to the earth’s service – have a serious role to play in bridging the digital divide.

But he also argued that other services, including mobile and video, require access to the band, and that satellite services should be able to find spectrum for their services in other bands.

Ruth Pritchard-Kelly, senior advisor to for WorldVu Satellites Limited, testily said Campbell “could do with a little history,” and asked him if he had ever worked on a satellite before. Campbell responded that while he had not, his company has engineers who had.

In arguing for satellite exclusivity of the 12 GHz spectrum, Pritchard-Kelly said satellites in orbit cannot simply switch from Ku frequencies to Ka frequencies. She explained that some satellites are designed to remain in orbit for upwards of a decade, and that it is not easy to simply switch bands.

She said arguing that not all the Ku band is being used is like saying, “I’m not using all nine pints of blood in my body—actually the satellites need all 500 megahertz.” She said that is what her company is licensed for, and that is how they have coordinated their satellites to operate.

When Campbell stated that it seemed like Pritchard-Kelly was worked up about the issue, Pritchard-Kelly declared, “I am paid to be worked up about it.”

Pritchard-Kelly said that even though finding and securing bandwidth is an ongoing issue, she is hopeful “the engineers work it out.” She conceded that sharing would only be possible if the engineers are able to find a way to do so without compromising mobility.

Campbell said he would appreciate coordination between their two companies to solve the problem.

“Have your engineers call our engineers—we’re happy to have this discussion with you.”

Continue Reading

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