Broadcasters urged to fight satellite interference
November 3rd, 2010 - 9:51 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

Broadcasters need to do more to fight the problem of satellite interference, an international meeting in Tunis heard yesterday. Speakers told the World Broadcasting Unions International Satellite Operations Group (WBU-ISOG) that most cases of interference were not deliberate but were caused by human error or mechanical failure.

The WBU-ISOG Chairman, Dick Tauber of CNN, said there were 14 thousand instances of satellite interference a year. This was a serious problem for broadcasters, he said. They could not afford to lose a satellite signal because “that’s their life blood”.

Jonathan Higgins of BeaconSeek, a consultancy firm specialising in the use of satellite technology, said a major problem was that operators of satellite news gathering terminals (SNGs) often lacked adequate training. “Broadcasters need to do more about training their own people,” he said. “We need to get our own house in order.” He said it was illogical that SNG operators did not require any qualification or certification.

The President of the Arab States Broadcasting Union, Riyadh Najm, agreed. He said the time had perhaps come when these operators needed some kind of qualification.

The meeting heard that in addition to training, the installation of carrier identification devices in SNG units could help reduce the interference problem.