Law, College of


Date of this Version



Journal of Telecommunication and Broadcasting Law 4 (September 2015), pp. 1–26.


Copyright © 2015 Frans G. von der Dunk. Used by permission.


Satellite communications, the most extensive, commercialized, and applications-oriented of outer space activities, is not a sector ruled by a single, coherent legal regime even at the international level. Already at present at least ten regimes would potentially or actually impact any particular satellite operation, service, or scenario. The current contribution, intended as a “mini-handbook” excerpted from the 2015 Handbook of Space Law published by the present author, addresses only the three generally most important of those regimes: the generic body of international space law, the regime developed in the context of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the trade regime applied in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO). After all, the three most important parameters for successful satellite communication operations are, respectively, the availability of and legitimate entitlement to use “geographical” locations in outer space for the satellites used, the availability of and lack of interference with radio frequencies for the communication activities proper, and access to the international markets for the services to be offered for commercial purposes.