Pointing to a recent increase in reported instances of interference to satellite communications systems, 28 European nations are calling for negotiations at the upcoming 2012 World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) toward a stricter international mechanism for assigning liability for interference to satellite networks. That plea was forwarded by officials in attendance at a policy conference conducted last week in Mexico by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the host of the upcoming WRC. In remarks at last week’s policy event, ITU Radiocommunications Bureau Director Velery Timofeev noted a recent “unpleasant increase” in reports of harmful interference to satellite networks. One such report involved an incident of jamming of European Satellite Organization operations from Iranian territory that sparked protest from 30 European nations during a March meeting of the ITU Radio Regulations Board. To “safeguard the integrity and functioning of satellite networks and systems,” the group of European nations is asking national representatives at WRC-12 to consider various amendments to the ITU Radio Regulations. Referring to existing U.N. conventions that include provisions for the protection of submarine telecommunications cables, the European contingent said that legal and other principles to safeguard satellite network operation could be adopted from other U.N. treaties and resolutions. The European proposal also suggests that the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space should consider “how greater protection may be afforded to satellite networks” through any new provisions adopted at WRC-12. Noting that the ITU Radio Regulations Board intends to address intentional harmful interference in its report to WRC-12, the U.S. suggested that the European proposal could be addressed under WRC-12 agenda item 8.1.3 that concerns “actions in response to Resolution 80” on due diligence. With the backing of 13 Asia-Pacific nations, a representative of Iran urged that any discussion of measures aimed at protecting satellites should also extend to terrestrial networks.