SES in Canada-US DTH squabble
Written by Chris Forrester
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 08:31

SES is involved in a joint-venture with Echostar as a client over a Canadian satellite operation, Ciel. One option for Ciel is to beam signals over the continental USA. DirecTV, for one, is not happy.

Local reports say that the US’ Federal Communications Commission is now stepping into the argument. However, Ciel 2 (launched in 2008 and operational from early last year) is wholly authorised to operate from 129 deg West over North America. Ciel is also “committed” to developing more Canadian-authorised orbital slots over and throughout “the Americas”.

However, a planned satellite, Ciel 6, scheduled for launch in 2012, is planned to orbit from 103 deg West, and this orbital position is partly occupied by DirecTV. A new craft, DirecTV-12 has just launched from Kazakhstan to the position (and will probably see some 3D action soon enough). In Europe and elsewhere it is not unusual to see two rival operators ‘sharing’ the same (or very close) orbital slots. SES and Eutelsat operate from 28.2 and 28.5 deg E, for example, and where SES utilises one batch of frequencies and Eutelsat another.

The North American dispute centres on whether the US will approve Ciel’s AND DirecTV’s applications, or rule in favour of one or the other.