Satellite organisations

The intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) ITSO, IMSO and EUTELSAT IGO are responsible for ensuring that private satellite telecommunications operators (Intelsat Ltd, Inmarsat plc and Eutelsat SA respectively) comply with their public service obligations.

When INTELSAT IGO (now ITSO), INMARSAT (now IMSO) and EUTELSAT (now EUTELSAT IGO) were established, they had the job of designing and operating satellite telecommunications systems to provide services to their member states. These services, based on each IGO’s specific field, include providing high-quality international telecommunications services and maritime distress communication services, and transmitting radio and television programmes.

In the early 2000s, significant restructuring of these three bodies was initiated. As a political compromise, it was decided to transfer the commercial activities provided until then by the three IGOs to private entities and to give each of the IGOs a supervisory role over the newly founded commercial companies. Therefore, today: 

  • ITSO, which has 149 member states, is responsible for ensuring high-quality and reliable international public telecommunications services that meet the needs of the information and communication society. It oversees Intelsat Ltd. 
  • IMSO, which has 104 member states, is responsible for ensuring that maritime mobile satellite communications services for Inmarsat plc’s Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) provided by comply with the regulatory framework established by the international Maritime Organisation (IMO). IMSO also coordinates the IMO’s Long Range Identification and tracking system. 
  • EUTELSAT OIG, which has 49 member statesis responsible for ensuring that Eutelsat SA’s activities comply with the principles of public service/universal service, pan-European coverage of the satellite system, non-discrimination and fair competition. 

Importance for Switzerland 

As a member state of ITSO, IMSO and EUTELSAT IGO, Switzerland helps to ensure that the above-mentioned public service obligations of the three satellite operators they supervise continue to be met.

OFCOM’s role 

OFCOM represents the Swiss Party at the Assemblies of the Parties of ITSO, IMSO and EUTELSAT IGO, which are in principle held every two years. It also participates - as an elected member or observer - in the meetings of the advisory committees of these three organisations.

Specialist staff
Last modification 23.11.2021

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