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Temporary satellite news gathering links (SNG)

Last update 17th March 2016

SNG : Satellite news gathering temporary links

Media coverage of major events (sport, concerts, etc.) can require temporary satellite news gathering links (SNG). This temporary nature is defined as follows:

- the duration of the link established in the same location cannot exceed two months;

- and the duration of the transmissions performed during that period cannot exceed 15 consecutive days.

These news gathering links employ a satellite that communicates with one or several SNG earth stations, to relay the video content to broadcasting studios.

For SNG earth stations deployed in France, the conditions of radio frequency use are set by Arcep. SNG earth stations can operate either under individual or general authorisation, depending on the situation. The space segment (i.e. the satellite component), is governed by prior frequency assignments procedures at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) level. A contractual agreement is nevertheless required between the SNG user and the satellite system's operator to guarantee the satellite network's control over the news gathering operations.

SNG equipment complies with the ETSI 301 430 standard, or standards that are deemed equivalent.

KU BAND FREQUENCIES AVAILABLE FOR SNG

The use of SNG equipment is currently governed by a dedicated Ku-band licensing system:

- some frequencies (10.7- 11.7 GHz and 12.5 - 12.75 GHz) are used to receive the downlink signals from the satellite to the earth stations;

- other frequencies (14 -14.5 GHz) are used to transmit the signals from these earth stations to the targeted satellite.

As illustrated in the following diagram, some portions of these frequencies have also been used historically for radio relay operations authorised by Arcep in France. SNG earth stations therefore have to share those frequencies with these radio relay systems.

AUTORISATION FRAMEWORK FOR SNG IN THE KU BAND

Arcep Decision No. 2006-0445 sets the framework for satellite news gathering operations' use of the Ku band.

For downlink reception by SNG earth stations, use of the 10.7 - 11.7 GHz and 12.5 - 12.75 GHz bands does not require an individual licence from Arcep. However, SNG users have no guarantee of protection against interference from radio relay operations licensed by Arcep.

For uplink transmission from SNG earth stations, depending on the frequency band and the geographical area in question, an individual authorisation from the Arcep may be needed to use the frequencies.

A and B: no individual authorisation is required, provided the user complies with the provisions of the Arcep Decision No. 2006-0445, notably those requiring that the SNG system does not cause interference with existing systems.

Pre-coordinated sites are location that are used regularly by SNG and include, for example, locations such as stadiums, horse racing tracks, etc. The pre-coordinated sites are listed in the following link:

List of pre-coordinated sites

C: an individual licence from Arcep is mandatory to ensure the protection of previous authorised uses through a technical coordination. The authorisation is subjected to a fee. The application process is described below.

APPLICATIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL FREQUENCY LICENCES FOR SNG AUTHORISATION WHEN REQUIRED

SNG systems' use of the 14.25 - 14.50 GHz frequencies outside pre-coordinated sites, requires an individual authorisation issued by Arcep, in response to an application by the SNG user. The issued authorisation cannot exceed a duration of two months.
Applications must be sent to the National Frequency Agency (Agence nationale des fréquences - ANFR), which proceeds those request on behalf of Arcep.

Information required for an application can be found on the ANFR website

Application form for a temporary frequency licence

Individual frequency authorisation holders are required to pay a frequency licensing fee and a management fee, whose amounts are determined by Articles 7 (Paragraph 1) 10, 12 and 14 of the amended Decree No. 2007-1532 of 24 October 2007. The corresponding implementing decree is the amended Order of 24 October 2007.