The European Telecommunications Satellite Organization, EUTELSAT, was created in 1977 by 17 European countries, members of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), with the purpose of operating a European telecommunications satellite system. Its constitutive text, the EUTELSAT Convention, was opened for signature in July 1982 and entered into force on 1 September 1985.
EUTELSAT established the first telecommunications satellite system in Europe. In cooperation with the European Space Agency, the Organisation launched its first two satellites in 1983 and 1984 and started providing space segment capacity for basic telecommunications and audio-visual services to Europe. EUTELSAT further expanded its activities to the provision of a wide range of analogue and digital television and radio broadcasting services, business telecommunications services, multimedia communications, messaging and positioning services and access to broadband internet. Its satellite fleet provided coverage for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the American continent.
The main purpose of EUTELSAT was the design, development, construction, operation and maintenance of the space segment of the European telecommunications satellite systems. In this context, the original objective of EUTELSAT was the provision of the space segment required for international public telecommunications services in Europe.
In the two decades following its creation, the Organisation gradually faced growing competition in an increasingly deregulated market requiring more flexibility than under its existing structure. In May 1999 the EUTELSAT Member States decided to restructure the Organisation and agreed the relevant procedures for this change. On 2 July 2001, all the assets, operational activities and related liabilities and commitments of the intergovernmental organisation EUTELSAT were transferred to Eutelsat S.A., a company established in Paris for this purpose.
The original EUTELSAT Convention was amended with the agreement of the Member States. The amendments were applied on an accelerated (provisional) basis as from 2 July 2001 and the EUTELSAT Amended Convention entered into force on a definitive basis in November 2002.
Since its restructuring, the structure, role, mission and activities have evolved to reflect developments in the fields of regulation, technology, and markets for Fixed Satellite Services. The intergovernmental organisation henceforth known as EUTELSAT IGO continued to safeguard the interests of its Member States.
Observance of the Basic Principles
EUTELSAT IGO monitors the operations of Eutelsat S.A. in particular to ensure that the Basic Principles are observed in accordance with Article III a) of the Amended Convention, where they are defined as follows:
Amendments to the original Convention were approved by the EUTELSAT Assembly of Parties in May 1999. They were applied on an accelerated (provisional) basis as from 2 July 2001 in accordance with a Resolution to this effect adopted by the Assembly of Parties also in May 1999. The EUTELSAT Amended Convention entered into force on a definitive basis on 28 November 2002 and is applicable to all Member States.
The Headquarters Agreement between EUTELSAT IGO and France was signed on 15 May 2001.
Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities
The Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization EUTELSAT entered into force on 17 August 1988. The Protocol is currently applicable to 24 Member States. Further information (as of March 2021) is available on the secure area of the website in the Assembly of Parties’ document AP 42-13.
Amending Agreement to the Protocol
In May 1999, when the Assembly of Parties approved amendments to the Convention, it was necessary to amend the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities to ensure consistency. The Amending Agreement to the Protocol entered into force on 6 September 2002 and is currently applicable to 7 Member States. Log in to the secure area of the website for further information (as of March 2021) in the Assembly of Parties’ document AP 42-13.
Corrigendum 1 to the Amending Agreement to the Protocol was issued on 16 January 2006.
The Convention establishing the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization EUTELSAT entered into force the 1 September 1985 and is no longer applicable.