ITSO Assembly of Parties - Paris

The 30th Assembly of Parties (AP) of the International Telecommunication Satellites Organisation (ITSO) was held on 19-21 July in Paris, where Portugal, as a Party, was represented by the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM). 
This extraordinary session of the Assembly of Parties was called as a direct result of the decisions made at its previous ordinary session, held from 30 January to 2 February of this year. The 29th AP had determined that a new meeting would be called within approximately six months to evaluate the progress of negotiations between the ITSO secretariat and the Intelsat company, with a view to resolving their differences with regard to the latter?s non-compliance of its public service obligations to the former and to the respective Parties.

Participants in the meeting elected the regional vice presidents of the 30th AP, from the five regions determined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference (PP) held in Kyoto, Japan, in 1994. A decision was also made to set up a so-called Credentials Committee, with the following composition:
 - Region A - Cuba
 - Region B - Denmark
 - Region C - Czech Republic
 - Region D - Gabon
 - Region E - Micronesia
The ITSO Advisory Committee?s continuation with the same structure, members and terms of reference was approved. Also the ITSO director-general?s report on the Advisory Committee was presented.
The Assembly was informed of the following reports from the director-general:
- on Intelsat?s compliance with its public service obligations, including the so-called lifeline connectivity obligations (LCOs). It concludes that despite the numerous meetings between ITSO and Intelsat the latter took no actions whatsoever to fulfil the decisions approved at the last AP, nor the public service obligations set out in same;

- on the proposed merger between Intelsat and the PanAmSat Holding Corporation, which provides detailed information in the current situation of same.
The Intelsat director-general also presented the document the company had prepared for this Assembly (a sort of ?defence document? given the charges levelled against the organisation), which reiterates his company?s compliance with the public service obligations and lists the following actions to answer the concerns raised by the Parties and by the ITSO:
- Reinsertion of references to the public service agreements in the company statutes;
- Submission of quarterly reports to ITSO with the content agreed to by the working group;
- Supply of management representation letters in connection with the calculations of all upcoming LCO pricing indices (including those from 2004 and 2005), so as to verify the precision of those calculations; 
- Offer a solution regarding the issue of granting the ITSO director-general observer status in the Intelsat Council of Administration which is in accordance with the statute of the private company.

A study was also presented on the common property of orbital positions and frequency allocation, comprising a legal study on ITSO?s authority, on the rights and obligations of the notifying administrations and on the numerous measures and actions that those subjects may use to ensure maintenance of the common property, respective orbital positions and frequency allocations, specifically in case Intelsat, which holds the said orbital positions, should go bankrupt.
The American delegation presented the report by the United States in its capacity as one of the ITU notifying administrations by Intelsat and the report on the ?Legal Obligations of the United States and the United Kingdom as Notifying Administrations under the ITSO Agreement?.

Lastly, the Assembly approved a number of decisions meant to make Intelsat fulfil the decisions approved at the last AP and the so-called base principles (including the public service obligations), highlighting the recommendations made with a view to providing the information required by ITSO (namely the quarterly monitoring indicator reports); to re-evaluate the prices Intelsat applies to LCO contracts, which should be given an LCO price protection; and for Intelsat to implement financial and legal mechanisms to guarantee that minimum coverage and overall connectivity are maintained. Also, and as part of the set of decisions approved in this document, the ITSO director-general was asked to call an (extraordinary) Assembly of Parties to be held before 31 March 2007, to verify the implementation status of the decisions approved at the two most recent Assemblies.