On March 23, the World Teleport Association (WTA) held its first Members Forum, which featured senior executives of member companies discussing the issue of channel conflict between teleport operators and satellite carriers.
Hosted by the Washington DC office of law firm PaulHastings, the Forum was the Association's first step toward addressing an issue of concern to its members. The Member Forum featured PaulHastings attorney and antitrust expert Michael Cohen as well as Nick Thompson, Managing Director of Arqiva Satellite & Media; David Hershberg, CEO of Globecomm Systems; Andreas Georghiou, CEO of Spacenet; Gary Hatch, CEO of ATCi; Bryan McGuirk, President of North American Satellite Services at SES AMERICOM, and Rick Mortellaro, Vice President, International Sales at Telesat. Among the nearly 50 attendees were executives from WTA’s global membership including TIBA, Eutelsat, Newtec, Intelsat, ViaSat, and Arrowhead Global Solutions.
"The purpose of the Member Forum," said WTA Chairman Chris Russell, "was to focus attention on an issue of concern to teleport operators and open a new dialogue between long-time strategic partners. Teleports and satellite carriers have a close and profitable partnership that delivers exceptional value to customers. But it is a complex relationship in which the parties are simultaneously suppliers, customers and competitors. Practices and policies that could damage this relationship need to be understood clearly so they can be managed effectively."
After a presentation on the management of channel conflict across many industries by PaulHastings' Michael Cohen, WTA Executive Director Robert Bell briefed attendees on the results of the association's 2008 study New Services, New Markets, New Competition, in which teleport operators identified satellite carriers operating their own teleports as a competitive threat. A panel of teleport executives, moderated by WTA's Director of Development Louis Zacharilla, explored how the issue looked from their perspective, after which WTA's Chris Russell led a satellite executive panel offering the carriers' view of "co-opetition" in the market. The afternoon closed with a freewheeling discussion of problems, potential solutions and recommendations by audience and panelists. WTA will publish the results of the Forum in a white paper, which will be free to its members, due out during the second quarter. It will be circulated to the industry to increase understanding of the issues and stimulate productive dialogue. The 2009 Member Forum was the first of a continuing series of Forums addressing business, technology and operational issues of critical importance to the success teleport operators around the world.