By David Hartshorn, Secretary General, GVF, Endorsing Association of VSAT Latin America.
Satellite is an extremely successful means of communication, which reaches areas, which other systems simply cannot. However, satellite interference continues to be an issue and is something we, as an industry, are working to resolve.
Latin America is currently gearing up for a number of high profile sporting events in the area, including the Football World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics. With such high profile events, providers will be more keen than ever to prevent interference, yet at the same time, increased activity will increase the chance of interference due to human error, poor equipment, or bad installation. Equally, high profile events such as these can be more susceptible to the rare, but significant issue of intentional interference.
The picture isn’t all doom and gloom however. Just look at the 2012 Olympics in London, where the industry and groups, such as GVF, worked together to implement Carrier ID and the result was a relatively interference-free Olympics. There is new technology available now and a whole range of other tools in the toolbox to help ensure that the next events are even more seamless
As mentioned above, the main causes of interference are human error, poor equipment, and bad installations. This is something we are working to resolve through a number of targeted initiatives. In particular GVF is focusing on proactive solutions, helping to prevent interference before it happens.
GVF has a wide range of training courses available across the globe. By training the installers, we can drastically reduce the number of bad installations. We are also talking to satellite operators across the globe to ensure they only use accredited installers.
By training the operators, we can also drastically reduce human error at the operator end.
There are many manufacturers in this industry getting it right, but there is a vast amount of sub-standard equipment. For that reason, GVF has a Product Quality Assurance Framework. By authenticating those products, which fulfil a number of requirements, and encouraging purchasers to only buy those products, which have been certified, we can help to reduce the issue. It also means that other manufacturers will then strive to improve product quality in order to meet market demands.
These initiatives have been running for a number of years, and we have already achieved a lot. However, we can only be truly successful with full industry-wide support. The major satellite operators and manufacturers are already on board, but we need to engage them all, as well as users across the globe. The Latin American region looks set to make a dramatic impact in the coming months and years, as the impetus of those major sporting events in the region will be the catalyst to drive the industry forward with the next big push.