“Advancing the Interests of the Global VSAT Industry” Bruce Olcott

I have had the honour of serving as the GVF’s outside counsel since shortly after its founding more than two decades ago and as the chair of its Regulatory Working Group from 2012 through 2015. What always excited me about GVF is its driving terrestrial purpose.

As highlighted in the GVF Constitution, GVF’s mission is not only focused on satellites in the sky, but on advancing the interests of the global VSAT industry on the ground. GVF’s terrestrial focus originally sought to labour on the extremely difficult task of securing ‘open skies’ market access in every country on the planet. To do this, GVF partnered with and championed the interests of service providers, system installers and integrators, equipment manufacturers and distributors in just about every country and region in the world. Thus, although GVF is proud to represent the interests of major satellite operators, the overwhelming majority of GVF’s members have never launched anything into space, working instead to deploy the ubiquitous networks of fixed and mobile ground stations that are necessary for satellite systems to fulfill the connectivity needs of industry, governments and consumers.

Over the years, the major tasks confronted by the GVF have evolved as regulatory conditions have changed, but GVF has not wavered from its terrestrial foundation. Having achieved open skies market access in most of the world, the overwhelming challenge today is preserving access to radio frequencies and protection from harmful interference.

GVF and its members contest spectrum encroachments using consultation comments, white papers, talking points and slide decks that are drafted and translated in numerous languages and presented to every audience that is willing to listen. Although portions of the spectrum threat are waged within the international forum of the ITU, the individual battles that are critical to success are being fought on a country-by-country and regional basis before legislative bodies, sovereign regulatory authorities and preparatory working groups.

Along the way, GVF has also found additional ways to benefit the terrestrial core of the satellite industry, including through installation training, equipment mutual recognition procedures and other activities. In each instance, the GVF continues to focus on the most difficult and least glamorous aspect of our industry, ensuring connectivity between the far flung consumers of our services and the remarkable satellites that are situated in space.

Bruce Olcott, Partner, Telecommunications Law & Policy, Jones Day, Washington DC

Bruce Olcott acts as outside general counsel for the Global VSAT Forum and was a previous chair of its Regulatory Working Group. He is a partner with the Washington office of Jones Day and has a broad range of experience in satellite communications law. He represents clients in securing domestic and international authorizations for the acquisition, construction, and operation of global and regional satellite communications networks.

He also represents clients in rulemakings and consultations before communications regulatory authorities, often seeking the elimination of legal and regulatory barriers to the provision of new communications services.

Bruce assists clients in the acquisition, auction, licensing, and leasing of spectrum, the coordination of spectrum sharing agreements, and the resolution of interference disputes. He also assists clients with securing carriage and transmission capacity on satellite networks.

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