The stage is set for a global showdown four years in the making for access to the radio waves needed for communications in space, on Earth, and everywhere in between.
A four-week battle over how finite spectrum resources should be divvied up kicks off Nov. 20, when the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) convenes the next World Radiocommunication Conference in Dubai following an intense study period that started right after WRC-19.
The quadrennial conference has for decades played host to a fierce battleground for the space industry as it seeks to fend off repeated advances for its spectrum from bandwidth-hungry terrestrial telcos, or International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) in ITU lingo.
Against the backdrop of unprecedented growth in constellations and satellite businesses, space companies face an extra threat this fall: other space companies.
“This conference is going to be less characterized by the sort of IMT versus space discussion than it’s going to be for the space-on-space violence,” a senior Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official told SpaceNews.