The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea ("SOLAS Convention"), Chapter IV (Radio communications) Part B (undertaking by contracting governments), Regulations 5 (Provisions of radiocommunication services) states: “Each Contracting Government undertakes to make available, as it deems practical and necessary either individually or in co-operation with other Contracting Governments, appropriate shore-based facilities for space and terrestrial radiocommunication services…”
Argument 11 of the Implementing Decision 2019/235/EC states that “The legal framework for using the 3 400-3 800 MHz frequency band set out by Decision 2008/411/EC should remain unchanged in terms of ensuring continued protection of existing services, other than terrestrial electronic communications networks, within the band. In particular, if retained in the band, earth stations in the fixed satellite service (FSS, space-to-earth) should be given continued protection through appropriate coordination between those systems and wireless broadband networks managed at national level on a case-by-case basis.”
The EU Implementing Decision 2014/276/EU states that “the existing deployment of services must not be affected” when an EU Member State grants authorizations to use the 3400-3800 MHz frequency band. Article 2 states: “Without prejudice to the protection and continued operation of other existing use in the band.”
Therefore, as a contracting party to the international SOLAS convention and as a leading IMO member state (IMO councilor) and as an EU member state, the Netherlands cannot jeopardize the adequate operation of the satellite station in Burum, the Netherlands.
What is the solution?
For the rollout the 5G network in the Netherlands and the adaption of the National Frequency Plan, the KVNR calls on the Dutch government to do justice to the EU Implementing Decision 2014/276/EU, which states that the existing use of the same frequency band as 5G must be protected and continued.
Maritime satellite communications for international shipping must not be jeopardised. The Netherlands must – as required to do so by the EU – first do everything in its power to continue to provide capacity on the 5G frequency band for the satellite station in Burum (coexistence). Alternatively – if there is no other option – the Inmarsat satellite station should be relocated to another suitable location in Europe