By Helen Weedon, Communications Manager, Satellite Interference Reduction Group/ PR Consultant, Radical Moves PR
On Saturday afternoon at IBC, I headed to a packed conference room for the Newtec forum on Video Breakthroughs and Satellite Interference. It began with some interesting developments by Newtec in their latest generation of products and certainly a lot being done to counter interference and promote Carrier Identification.
The panel discussion that followed presented a great deal of challenges, but also a number of solutions already being rolled out across the industry.
Martin Coleman from the Satellite Interference Reduction Group (IRG) started by making the point that Carrier ID is an important tool, but just one of many, it is not the whole solution. He urged the audience to understand that now we need to continue the momentum and promote both new and current initiatives.
Ahead of the Olympics, there was a huge push to introduce Carrier ID across the industry and the panel collectively presented a number of interesting facts:
Thomas van den Driessche of Newtec commented that the DVB has finalized the technical specifications of the new Carrier ID technology. It will become a standard by the end of this year.
- According to Mark Rawlins of Eutelsat as much as 80% of interference is due to human error.
Martin Coleman of IRG calculated that it took just 43 people to make Carrier ID happen
- According to SES, 50% of carriers had an ID in time for the Olympics
- Mark Rawlins of Eutelsat stated that the group has successfully raised the profile of Carrier ID, however the next challenge is the VSAT community, where a new approach will be needed.
One really interesting aspect of the interference initiatives is seeing competing companies working together towards a common goal. Chris Grogan of SES, sitting next to Mark Rawlins of Eutelsat, shared his experience of the collaboration of operators, something, which has been in place for some time to ensure transmissions don’t cause interference to other operators. The Space Data Association was setup by operators to share data quickly and efficiently, making this much easier and achievable.
David Hartshorn from the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) explained that the scale of success of the industry has been huge, which, although positive, is one of the biggest causes of interference. He mentioned specifically the wide and growing array of fixed and mobile solutions and the fact that the sheer volume and rate of growth creates a greater need for enhancements to customer service and quality assurance measures.
To that, David reported to the audience that GVF offers a wide number of interference and prevention solutions, including product type approvals, network validation, and training courses to better educate broadcasting and other satellite user groups. As a recent example, he mentioned that GVF and Newtec have teamed up on various training solutions.
Dr Riyadh K Najm of ASBU believes that Carrier ID is being implemented and timely, as there is more interference and, thus, more need than previously. For him and his region, deliberate jamming is the issue and one to which there are currently no real solutions. He called for measures by the ITU to combat this type of interference, to some general agreement from the audience as well as the panel. Following this panel, I discovered he has now been invited to take up the subject further at the IRG conference in Dubai later this year where technology solutions shall be investigated.
The next steps
It is clear that a lot of work still needs to be done, but listening to this panel, it is also clear that there is a great deal of enthusiasm and energy being put into these initiatives and after each goal a new one (or several) is set. I look forward to seeing where we can get to by the 2014 World Cup and Winter Olympics!