Earlier in the month Belgian regulators (BIPT) re-approved the ground component structure of Inmarsat’s European Aviation Network (EAN) service. The move came after a court challenge lodged by Viasat and Eutelsat on the validity of the planned use of terrestrial networks as the primary data channel for the EAN service. The BIPT solicited filings from all involved parties and came to the same conclusion as the first time around. That ruling will not go unchallenged, however, with a Viasat spokeswoman telling PaxEx.Aero that “we will challenge this latest decision as well.”
We are not surprised by the Belgian regulator’s decision to reissue Inmarsat a new CGC license. We successfully challenged BIPT’s last decision in the Courts, and we will challenge this latest decision as well. We anticipate the Court will once again find that BIPT has unlawfully granted Inmarsat a license to operate its EAN in Belgium. – Viasat
The question remains: Do the ground components fit the regulatory definition of Complimentary Ground Component (CGC) “to increase the availability of the mobile satellite service in geographical areas, located within the footprint of the system satellite (s), where communications with one or more space stations can not be provided with the required quality?”
Inmarsat has successfully convinced many national regulators that the “required quality” includes insufficient capacity, not just a lack of coverage or line-of-sight to the satellite. Viasat and Eutelsat continue to challenge that approach. And, in the interim, Inmarsat and IAG continue to work towards commercial launch of the product.