Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: FR DE DA ES NL IT PT EL

   Following a proposal from M. Bangemann, the Commission adopted a proposal
   for a Directive concerning the licensing of satellite  telecommunications
   services in the Community1 on the basis of a mutual recognition scheme.

   The objective of the proposed Directive is to facilitate the provision of
   networks of satellite earth stations as well as the provision of services
   making  use of these networks. The proposed Directive sets up  the  legal
   framework  under  which  satellite  service  operators,  once  they  have
   obtained  a  licence in one of the Community's Member  States,  can  seek
   mutual  recognition of this licence in the other Member States where  the
   operator would wish to provide its satellite services.

   The current provision of satellite services in the Community is  hampered
   by the need to obtain large numbers of individual licences for,  usually,
   each satellite earth station operating in a network. For larger networks,
   such  as that currently foreseen for one of the large  car-industries  in
   the   Community,  this  could  amount  to  well  over   5000   individual
   applications for licences.

   Enhancing the provision of satellite services in the Community

   The satellite services which are expected to profit extensively from  the
   proposed framework are:

   -  VSAT  (Very  Small Aperture Terminals)  stations,  based  on  business
      premises: networks of this kind can consist of thousands of  satellite
      earth stations in various configurations, covering the whole of Europe
      and  more,  and  are used  for  data-communications,  corporate  voice
      traffic,  video  conferencing, the transmission of  training  material
      etc;

      in Europe, the use of these networks is foreseen, for example, by  the
      car-industries for communications between their headquarters and their
      retail  outlets, by the oil-industries to connect petrol  stations  to
      central  credit card verification facilities, and by hotel  chains  to
      rationalise common purchasing of supplies.

      The framework would allow the establishment of such networks with very
      few lincences:

   
   1  COM(93)652

   -  satellite  based,  mobile  data communications  and  fleet  management
      systems,   roadhaulage  companies  with  long  distance   fleets   are
      increasing their flexibility via the use of state-of-the art satellite
      communciations  systems to determine the positions of  their  vehicles
      and provide them with the latest dispatch information, no matter where
      the  vehicles are. These systems are also used for the  monitoring  of
      dangerous  cargo  transports  by rail, road or  sea.  A  single  class
      licence  for  such a mobile satellite service would be  sufficient  to
      allow full use of these important support facilites.

   -  Satellite  News  Gathering units for the provision of  video  material
      from important events to studios; last minute dispatch of a  reporting
      team to a developing event of global interest requires the setting  up
      of  the  units directly next to the site of the  event  (for  example,
      covering the latest developments in recent GATT negotiations). Under a
      mutually  recognised  licensing  scheme, the units  would  already  be
      licensed  throughout the Community and would only require a  last  and
      simple verification of proper set-up upon arrival at the site.

   -  Satellite   based  personal  communications  networks  and   services;
      handheld  personal  satellite communications, similar in size  to  the
      current  generation of terrestrial mobile communications and  foreseen
      to  come  into operation in a number of years,  will  require  advance
      licensing  to  assure that they can operate no matter where  the  user
      takes the device.

   The functioning of the proposed framework

   The  proposed  Directive foresees a scheme whereby the  total  amount  of
   licences will be reduced to, ultimately, a single licence provided by one
   of  the Community's national regulatory authorities, and on the basis  of
   which  mutual  recognition  of this licence  be  granted  throughout  the
   Community.

   As  regards the types of satellite services, in principle the scheme  can
   accommodate  any satellite network configuration as well as all  foreseen
   satellite  services and is thus technology independent. In a fast  moving
   sector  like satellite communications, this is a minimum  requirement  to
   assure  that a regulatory scheme functions well over a longer  period  of
   time.

   The  scheme is furthermore flexible as concerns the transition  from  the
   current  practice  of  individual  licences  towards  the  full   mututal
   recognition regime for classes of satellite services. A transition regime
   of  one-stop shopping arrangements is planned to be recognised and  which
   could  start  on the basis of a single location for the  application  for
   licences.  It  can  then progress towards  joint  application  forms  and
   further harmonised procedural provisions, and from there onwards  proceed
   to the mutual recognition regime.

   Other  European countries outside the Union are expected to join  in  the
   scheme.

   How  does this proposal fit in the Community's  satellite  communications
   policy?

   On the basis of the Satellite Green Paper, in which the framework was set
   out  for  the  intended Community satellite  communciations  policy,  the
   Commission is now progressing rapidly with proposals for  implementation.
   A  complete package of comprehensive measures is in the process of  being
   launched  with  the  aim  of giving a  major  boost  to  the  Community's
   satellite communications equipment and services industries.

   On 29 October 1993 the Council adopted the Satellite Equipment  Directive
   which  foresees  the mutual recognition of  type-approval  for  satellite
   earth stations equipment so that manufacturers will have to obtain  type-
   approval only in one Member State rather than in all of them as currently
   required.

   On  1  December 1993, the Commission adopted, in first phase,  a  measure
   which  introduces  competition in the satellite  services  and  equipment
   supply sectors by the end of 1994.

   On  7  December  1993, the Council adopted a  resolution  concerning  the
   introduction  of satellite personal communciations in the  Community,  to
   assure that the necessary regulatory and policy frameworks are  developed
   which facilitate the introduction of these services in the Commumnity and
   to  assist  European industry in their endeavours to participate  in  its
   provision.

   Further  initiatives in the satellite communications sector are  expected
   to be launched over the next months.

   The  emerging Community's satellite communications industry is  currently
   facing severe barriers which need addressing. In addition to  competition
   to terrestrial communciations, and a shift from a research dominated to a
   market-oriented  environment,  entry  barriers  in  third  countries  are
   shifting  internationals markets of this globally oriented  industry.  In
   line  with  the overall approach in the  telecommunications  sector,  the
   package of measures provide for a balanced approach between harmonisation
   and  liberalisation  with  the aim to realise soon  a  fully  competetive
   satellite  communications sector, ready to play an important role in  any
   future   framework   concerning  the  provision   of   telecommunications
   infrastructure.

                                     * * *

Side Bar