An overview of satellite policy, law and regulation
Produced in partnership with Joanne Wheeler of Bird & Bird
An overview of satellite policy, law and regulation

The following TMT guidance note Produced in partnership with Joanne Wheeler of Bird & Bird provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • An overview of satellite policy, law and regulation
  • What are mobile satellite services?
  • Key bodies in the regulatory structure
  • Legal and regulatory framework for MSS in Europe
  • National implementation
  • Legal and regulatory framework for MSS in UK

This Practice Note sets out the legal and regulatory regime governing mobile satellite services (MSS) in the UK and in Europe.

The main communications satellite services are:

  1. mobile satellite service (MSS);

  2. fixed satellite service (FSS); and

  3. broadcast satellite service (BSS)

In general, at UK, European and international level, the legal and regulatory framework for each service is similar in relation to obtaining access to spectrum (although the services may use different spectrum bands) and when seeking to obtain a launch and operations licence. There may be differences in relation to the requirements to obtain the requisite terrestrial licences and certain aspects of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) filing procedures and requirements of the Radio Regulations. An MSS system may also require access to spectrum for links for communications between an Earth station and a satellite and vice versa (feeder links) for its operation. This Practice Note focuses in particular on the policy, law and regulation for MSS at UK and European level.

What are mobile satellite services?

Systems providing MSS use spectrum to provide high-speed communications between satellites and mobile Earth stations (including terminals on ships or cars), or handheld mobile terminals. Such services may include high-speed internet access to television and radio, public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) and telecommunications.

MSS systems may be integrated with complementary