One of the two satellite TV operators in the USA claims its rival’s 5G mobile plans will result in TV interference. Space X is also concerned.
DirecTV has hit out at plans by rival Dish Network to launch earth-based 5G services in the 12 GHz frequency band. The frequencies are used (as in the UK) to broadcast satellite TV signals to viewer’s homes.
A survey commissioned by DirecTV claims interference levels would exceed limits currently in place in the U.S. to protect Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) systems by a factor of 100 to 100,000. DirecTV’s Stacy Fuller said the interference would extend “well beyond the intended coverage area of the mobile base stations.”
Satellite broadband companies SpaceX and OneWeb have also recently commissioned studies. They also indicate that the proposed 5G services would significantly disrupt their networks. SpaceX said the new 5G network would cause Starlink users to experience harmful interference “more than 77% of the time”.
Meanwhile, Fuller commented that satellite TV systems were more at risk from interference than broadband services. This is because “unlike broadband systems, which can replace lost [data] packets through two-way communications, [satellite TV data] packets lost to interference result in frozen video screens.”
SpaceX, OneWeb and DirecTV have all called for the US regulator FCC to throw out the plan. DirecTV has called on the FCC to provide satellite operators in the band the certainty they need to continue to invest in developing and delivering advanced services.
Dish is attempting to launch the 5G service in an effort to diversify its business as traditional satellite TV viewing declines. It already holds access to spectrum for 5G services in other frequency bands. Meanwhile, DirecTV’s approach has been to launch an IP-based TV service as an alternative to satellite.
[Image: DirecTV satellite dish / Wiki / HurricaneGeek2002. CC BY-SA 4.0]