CASBAA notes Transmission Troubles from WiMax deployments

Mumbai: The Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) released a new report highlighting the threat to television services posed by the deployment of Broadband Wireless Access services (such as WiMax) in the radio frequency band used for the wholesale distribution of satellite television signals in Asia.    

The Transmission Troubles report provides the first region-wide survey of real world experiences of licensing conflicts over wireless spectrum normally used by satellite operators.  

Headlining the CASBAA report is a list of six high-risk markets where cable systems, hotels and other wholesale broadcast customers are likely to experience outages over the next three years: India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand.

"Given the central role that satellites play in the delivery of television services to hundreds of millions of pay-TV subscribers in Asian markets, the risk of regional broadcasts ‘going to black’ is unacceptable," said CASBAA in a statement.

"This is no false alarm. In the report we tabulate the rising incidence of interference in the ‘C-band’ used by satellite operators as recorded by repeated tests, extensive technical modeling, along with the growing numbers of ‘uncontrolled’ outages."

According to CASBAA, Pakistan and Australia have licensed systems in the C-band already producing signal interference. In India, there are significant pressures to allocate vital broadcast spectrum currently used by satellite operators. In Indonesia – while the government has drafted decrees to separate wireless and satellite transmissions – carriers are reporting widespread on-the-ground interference.  

CASBAA, meanwhile, underlined that governments do not need to sacrifice digital development goals to preserve satellite communications. "There are readily-available frequency alternatives for broadband wireless systems."   

For instance, CASBAA judged Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Malaysia as ‘low risk’ markets because the regulatory authorities there have assigned other frequencies for broadband wireless deployments, in part mitigating widespread industry concerns.

Indeed, following a 2007 meeting of the UN-based International Telecommunications Union’s World Radio Cmmunication Conference, there was a sense that C-band satellite spectrum in Asia would remain secure from interference.

"As you will see from our report, it is not," said CASBAA’s Wireless Action Group for satellite operators chairman Gregg Daffner.