11 Countries expressed their willingness and joined together to establish a commercial communications satellite system.
In 1965 the Organization launched the world’s first commercial communications satellite, the “Early Bird.”
Establishment of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) with the mission to ensure the availability of international telecommunications services to all countries of the world on a non-discriminatory basis.
INTELSAT’s restructuring to reflect regulatory and competitive pressures while ensuring the ability to continue to meet its universal service and access commitments in the long term. The restructuring led to the creation of a private entity, Intelsat S.A. and to the continuation of the intergovernmental organization with a new acronym (ITSO) and mission.
The 31st Extraordinary Assembly of Parties (AP-31), during the period 20-23 March 2007 in Paris, France, approved an amendment to Article XII, Paragraph (c)(ii) of the ITSO Agreement in order to protect the Parties’ Common Heritage orbital locations and associated frequency assignments in case of adverse or unforeseen situations.
Establishment of ITSO’s Capacity Building Initiative which offers member States the opportunity to enhance the necessary conditions for the improvement in ICT access and utilization while at the same time facilitating the development and effective use of international public telecommunications services.
The 35th Assembly of Parties decided that the performance by Intelsat of its Public Service Obligations remains as important as it was in 2001; that the ITSO Agreement plays a crucial role in ensuring that the principles, obligations and objectives as defined during the restructuring continue to be adhered to and; that it is essential to continue to have a mechanism in place for upholding and protecting the Public Service Obligations as well as the Parties Common Heritage Assets.
The Amendment to Article XII, Paragraph (c) (ii) of the ITSO Agreement entered into force on January 16.
A good proportion of 2019 was spent on good faith negotiations between ITSO and Intelsat to secure funding for the fiscal years 2020 and 2021, in accordance with provisions of the ITSO Agreement. Due to the fact these negotiations ended up in an impasse, ITSO had no other option but to initiate an arbitration proceeding against Intelsat in November 2019 in accordance with the PSA.
In May 2020, Intelsat filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to enable a financial restructuring process necessary for its long-term growth. Because of the bankruptcy proceeding, ITSO was not able to proceed with the arbitration against Intelsat.
It was of great concern that Intelsat’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under U.S. law could prevent ITSO from carrying out its main mission by depriving it of the necessary funds provided for under the PSA.
A Settlement Agreement was finally reached in October 2020.
The Assembly of Parties affirmed unanimously that ITSO should continue to exist and perform its full mission.
It was decided to establish two ad hoc working groups that in collaboration with the ITSO Advisory Committee will report to AP-41 on (1) measures necessary to secure the efficient and proper exchange of information between Intelsat and ITSO and secure appropriate funding arrangements on a going forward basis that will allow for proper funding of the Organization through the two-year cycles between ordinary meetings of the Assembly of Parties; and (2) measures necessary to enhance the protection of the Common Heritage including the possibility of increasing the number of Notifying Administrations.