Law, College of


Date of this Version



In: International Regulations of Space Communications. Larcier, 2013, pages 45-67.


Copyright 2013, Larcier. Used by permission.


The present paper is the written elaboration of a presentation held under the same title at the workshop “International Regulations of Space Communications” held in Luxembourg on 24 and 25 May 2012. Consequently, the topic of this paper, the maintenance of the Master International Frequency Register as a key tool for allowing satellite communications to be a viable international sector of space activities, is viewed through the looking glass of the session title, “WRC-12 from the Perspective of International Telecommunications Law.”

In other words, it does not purport to deal with the actual details of maintaining the Register or even what the WRC-12 added to that, but rather represents an effort to properly situate the Register and the overall rationale for its maintenance within the broader context of WRCs – of which WRC-12 is merely the most recent one. From this perspective, the Register essentially reflects the main elements of, and registers the main data relevant to, the international regulation of satellite communications.

International telecommunication law at large is a branch of public international law, and as far as satellite communications in particular is concerned forms also part of the more specific branch of public international space law that is labelled space law. This, however, concerns such more general and overarching issues as the requirement that the use of space, including if for communication purposes, be “for the benefit and in the interests of all countries.” In the current paper, therefore, we will focus on the international telecommunication aspects of satellite communications, most notably the Radio Regulations, the Table of Frequency Allocations and the aforementioned Master International Frequency Register.