Satellite communication is an essential aspect of safety at sea. Numerous frequency bands are used for satellite communication. The C band, for example, has a frequency range of 3.4 to 7.0 GHz and is used for, among other reasons, safety messages.
In the Netherlands, the satellite station in Burum (in the northern province of Friesland) receives signals from C-band satellites in the 3.5 GHz frequency band and directs them to onshore networks. As well as the shipping sector, this internationally important satellite receiving station is also used by the aviation industry and the Ministry of Defence.
For this reason, no ‘landlines’ or ‘mobile communications’ should be offered above the imaginary line drawn between Amsterdam and Zwolle. These cause interfere with the reception of satellite connections (satellite to earth) at the Burum station (footnote HOL008, annex 3, National Frequency Plan).
The 3.5 GHz frequency band has been designated by the European Union for the roll-out of the European 5G broadband wireless networks (Implementing Decision 2014/276 / EU). As a result, various telecom companies are demanding that the Dutch government release the 3.5 GHz frequency band for mobile communications throughout the whole country, including the areas above the Amsterdam-Zwolle line.
While the KVNR understands the importance of the 5G network, it believes that releasing the 3.5 GHz frequency band throughout the Netherlands, and without protective measures for the satellite receiving station in Burum, would put safe and effective satellite communications in danger. This is especially the case when taking the development of autonomous vessels into account; breakdown or disruption of satellite communications could lead to disasters.
2014/276/EU (Implementing Decision 3) states that “the legal framework for using the 3400-3800 MHz frequency band set by Decision 2008/411/EC should remain unchanged and thus ensure continued protection of other existing services within the band”. Article 2 mentions: “Without prejudice to the protection and continued operation of other existing use in this band”. The effective operation of the satellite receiving in Burum should therefore not be inhibited.