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Key Activities: WRC-2000


The beginning of May saw the opening of the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) in Istanbul, Turkey. An increasingly complex and crucial event for the global radiocommunication industry, this four-week conference, held every 2-3 years, is the legal instrument that defines and modifies the Radio Regulations, the binding international treaty which governs the allocation and use of radio frequency spectrum by more than 40 different services worldwide.

Since radio-based services cannot function properly if subjected to harmful interference from other services, international agreement on the way the various bands of the radio frequency spectrum are used is essential to the smooth operation of a growing range of critical applications, from aircraft and maritime navigation to wireless telephony, satellite broadcasting and scientific research.

Despite an onerous agenda comprising a number of highly controversial initiatives, WRC-2000 proved a particularly successful conference, eliciting widespread consensus on key issues, including allocation of additional channels for analogue television broadcasting in Africa, Asia, Australasia and Europe; additional spectrum designations for third generation IMT-2000 mobile services; agreement on sharing between traditional geostationary and new non-geostationary satellite systems; provision of additional spectrum which can be used by a new European global positioning service known as Galileo; and new allocations for emerging high-density fixed services, such as Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS).

The very positive results of WRC-2000 demonstrate ITU’s ability to effectively come to grips with increasingly complex cross-regional issues — particularly important in the context of the rapid growth and globalization of radio-based systems, which is making radio frequency sharing ever more difficult. The successful outcome of the year 2000 conference has also been instrumental in creating the right conditions for future industry development and continued deployment of a host of sophisticated new radio-based communication systems in coming years.

The Radiocommunication Assembly, held in Istanbul from 1-5 May, took a number of important decisions relating to administrative matters, such as the working methods and study programmes of ITU-R Study Groups, as well as to key emerging technologies, such as Voice-over-IP, IMT-2000, Fixed Wireless Access and frequency sharing. A fast-track approval process was endorsed for ITU-R Recom­mendations not having regulatory or policy implications, while the number of ITU-R Study Groups was reduced from eight to seven, with the merging of Study Group 10 (sound broadcasting)and Study Group 11 (television broadcasting) to form the new Study Group 6. A direct result of ongoing convergence in broadcasting technologies, the new group will be responsible for developing standards for satellite and terrestrial broadcasting covering image, sound, data and multimedia services. In addition, the Assembly approved some 90 new or revised draft Recommendations, including the landmark agreement on IMT-2000 air interfaces, and set the work programme for the next study period, which contains around 340 Questions, to be addressed in order of urgency.



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Updated : 2002-04-08