Hong Kong’s external telecommunications connectivity
Relocation of satellite earth stations from Tai Po
Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked when the relocation project and the preparation for Chung Hom Kok Teleport were expected to complete, how many operators the Teleport could host, and whether 5G services would be available in the restriction zones in the interim.
PS(CCI) explained that from 1 April 2020, the Communications Authority (“CA”) would re-allocate the 3.5 GHz band currently used for the operation of satellite earth stations for mobile service developments, although the satellite earth stations would still need to make use of the 3.4 – 3.7 GHz band to operate the satellites already launched. To ensure that satellite services operated by these satellite earth stations could coexist with future 5G services, CA had set up restriction zones in Tai Po and Stanley to constrain the deployment of mobile base stations operating in the 3.5 GHz band in these areas. Operators might make use of other 5G frequency bands (e.g. the 3.3 GHz, 4.9 GHz and 26/28 GHz bands) or re-farm spectrum in other bands currently used for providing the second to the fourth generation mobile services under their existing licences to provide 5G services within the restriction zones. PS(CCI) noted that the operators were aware of the arrangement and there was no delay in their plan to launch 5G commercial services in the second quarter of this year, despite the 5G restriction zone in Tai Po.
PS(CCI) added that the Administration had been exploring with satellite operators the feasibility of relocating the satellite earth stations in Tai Po. It would involve identifying suitable land lots at Chung Hom Kok Teleport, seeking approval for using the sites, preparing land documents, carrying out civil engineering works to construct the new satellite earth stations and ancillary buildings/facilities before shutting down the existing facilities in Tai Po. Even if all the parties were able to fully cooperate with each other, the whole process would take several years to complete. The Administration would do its best to facilitate the relocation.