Posts Tagged ‘satellite jamming’

You Can’t Stop The Dish

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

When I visited Ukraine a few years ago, I was amazed at how the satellite reception infrastructure operated.

I knew it was different in Europe than in the U.S., where you could walk in to an electronics shop, buy a box and antenna, then install it yourself. You’d have 70+ advertising-supported channels to choose from with no monthly fee. In the U.S., the satellite TV market is based on the cable TV model: you pay a monthly fee regardless. If you try unscrambling the signal, your cable box may get a “silver bullet” sent to it and fry it. Better encryption technology (e.g. NDS) helps keep content secure.

So how is that people in Eastern Europe can buy a “special box” for $200-$300 and be able to receive everything — standard, pay-tv, premium, porn, sports, etc. — without paying a montly fee? It’s not system-specific, so with a motorized antenna mount you can go from Eutelsat to Astra birds and watch whatever you want. And the “special box” could also record movies, sportsinmodica. That’s a pretty good deal.

One of the world’s most beneficial technological marvels, satellite TV signals get upload only once — using a specific amount of RF bandwidth — and downloaded an infinite number of times within the satellite’s coverage footprint. Infinite.

With this technology, how can oppressive governments pretend to ban or limit satellite TV reception? Iran’s learning this now, as reported by the National Council of Resistance of Iran:

The Iranian regime has failed in its bid to ban people from watching satellite TV channels, a regime official has admitted.

Despite a 1994 law making satellite dishes illegal, up to 70 per cent of families have them and their use is increasing, state-run TV network official Fardin Ali-Khah said.

He told the state-run Rasanews on July 4: “At first only upper-class people used satellite dishes. However this has now become common across all sectors of society.

With 120 or so channels of Persian/Farsi TV coming in from the diaspora, they don’t stand a chance.

Kick Out The Jams

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Governments have jammed satellite reception for years, most recently in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, et. al. Broadcasters have been complaining for years, but now they’ve the got power of the ITU behind them.

At the WRC-12, the ITU membership voted in favor of government to take “necessary actions” when satellite broadcasts are jammed. The European Broadcast Union, along with media freedom-fighters, human rights advocates and broadcasters such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Radio France Internationale, RFE/RL, Inc.’s Radio Farda. Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), and Voice of America.

Naturally, the EBU was jumping for joy yesterday:

The change, adopted by 165 member states of the WRC (out of 193 ITU members), was to article 15.21 of the regulations, which now reads, “If an administration has information of an infringement of the Constitution, the Convention or the Radio Regulations (in particular Article 45 of the Constitution and No. 15.1 of the Radio Regulations) committed by a station under its jurisdiction, the administration shall ascertain the facts and take the necessary actions.”

Ingrid Deltenre, Director General of EBU said, “From the EBU’s point of view, this decision taken by so many countries participating in WRC-12 is a first important step in the right direction. Now we expect ITU services to be vigilant and ready to react to deliberate attempts to obstruct the free flow of information.”

What “necessary actions” might be remains to be seen.