Following the publication of the Advance Publication Information (API) by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the next step for bringing a satellite network into use is frequency coordination.
Submitting a 'C' Notice
For new Australian satellite networks, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA), must submit technical data for coordination purposes to the ITU including:
the date at which it is to come into use
frequency range and power characteristics of the network
characteristics of the receiving and transmitting antennas
class of stations and nature of service
necessary bandwidth and
The ITU Radiocommunication Bureau checks the data conforms with its Convention, Table of Frequency Allocations and other provisions of the ITU Radio Regulations. If it does, it will publish a notice or coordination request, also known as a 'C' Notice. Each notice is allocated a sequential number.
The date of receipt of the coordination information places it in a queue for examination by the ITU. Coordination information may be submitted to the ITU before, with, or after the API is submitted. While it can be submitted at any time, it will not be deemed to have been received by the ITU until six months after the API. The sooner the API is submitted, the sooner the 'C' Notice is looked at.
After the 'C' Notice is published
Any countries affected by the proposed system will be identified by the ITU using a methodology contained in its Radio Regulations, and have a limited period of time to respond to the host administration for the network.
Affected administrations have four months from the date of publication of the ‘C’ notice to respond to the administration seeking coordination.
If there is potential for interference, formal negotiations will take place to minimise any anticipated difficulties. Affected administrations must resolve any difficulties arising from the proposed new network, generally by changing the technical parameters of the proposed network via a series of coordination meetings.
Coordination may also involve negotiations with the satellite operators or between operators to agree on specific frequencies to be used. Coordination agreements proposed by operators are normally subject to the approval of their sponsoring administrations, because only administrations can record agreements with the ITU.
How long does it take?
Coordination is potentially the most time consuming component of bringing a satellite network into service. Delays can occur from any number of quarters, so it is not possible to provide a definite time limit to the process.
Coordination monitoring role of the ACMA
The ACMA is responsible for identifying proposed foreign satellite networks that could cause interference to Australian radiocommunications services. The ACMA checks whether the uplinks and downlinks of proposed satellite networks will:
impact on Australian satellite networks, both existing and proposed
impact on Australian terrestrial assignments
impact on assignments made to Australia in the Broadcasting Satellite Service (BSS) Plan
impact on assignments made to Australia in the Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) Plan
be consistent with the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan.
After the coordination procedure is successfully completed, the technical characteristics of the satellite network are permanently recorded in the ITU's Master International Frequency Register (MIFR). This process is called 'notification' and is the final phase of bringing a satellite network into use.
Notification is a formal record of agreement between administrations about a satellite network. Once its details are recorded in the MIFR, other administrations are obliged to minimise interference to the network by any satellite and terrestrial networks they are responsible for. This applies to both new networks and modifications to existing networks.
How does notification work?
Notification is requested by an administration on behalf of the network operator.
The ITU examines the results of coordination negotiations to see that coordination has been completed with all affected administrations. These include administrations that the ITU identified when it published the 'C' Notice and those that submitted disagreements in the four months after publication.
If the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau's findings are favourable, the frequency assignments are then recorded in the MIFR, and notification will be complete.
If the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau's findings are negative, they are published in a section of the IFIC (Part III - Unfavourable Findings). The notice is sent back to the originating Administration with the reasons for the finding and suggestions to solve the problem.
Timeframe for notification
Under Article 11 of the ITU Radio Regulations notification is required within seven years from the date of receipt of the API.