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Elections at PP-10: Meet the candidates
Interview with François Rancy (France)
Candidate for the post of Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau
François Rancy

Question 1

A fundamental mission of ITU is to manage the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. How has your experience prepared you for this mission in the years ahead, and what are your expectations?

François Rancy: I devoted the early part of my career to the design of satellite systems and their frequency coordination, working at France Télécom’s research centre in teams that were at the forefront of digital technology development. Since 1992, as the official in charge of the Frequency Office, and subsequently Director of International Affairs in France’s National Frequency Agency (ANFR), I participated in ITU world radiocommunication conferences. This enabled me to make a very active contribution within ITU–R, both on technical issues and on regulatory and procedural aspects. During this time, I was fortunate enough to be able to count on the support of teams of highly talented engineers and technicians.

As Director-General of ANFR since 2004, I am responsible for frequency management in France. In 2007, I chaired the World Radiocommunication Conference, where key decisions were taken for the future, in particular concerning the mobile service.

Last but not least, I have always been eager to share the knowledge acquired in my work, through teaching, consultancy and international cooperation. My personal commitment and involvement with a large number of countries testifies to my understanding of administrations’ and Sector Members’ expectations and concerns.

My experience in radiocommunications and spectrum management has thus given me a firm grasp of all the technical, regulatory and management aspects pertaining to the work of the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau (BR). Helping the countries of the world to work together in order to reap the greatest possible benefit from radiocommunications has been a permanent objective during the 30 years of my professional life. I hope to pursue that objective as Director of BR.

Question 2

What trends and issues are emerging today that you feel will have an impact on radiocommunications? And how should ITU respond in order to remain relevant as the crucial place in which critical spectrum matters are decided?

François Rancy: The major development in radiocommunications is the boom in mobile communications. As a result of this boom, the mobile service requires access to ever-increasing amounts of spectrum. This obliges ITU both to find new frequency bands for the mobile service and to incorporate innovative solutions, such as cognitive radios, to ensure sharing with the other services. The spread of mobile also means that the issue of public exposure to electromagnetic fields is now coming to the fore in all countries, calling for suitable responses.

Globalization of markets allows for considerable economies of scale, which are central to the incredible development of mobile communications. In this context, ITU’s prime role is to foster harmonization of frequencies worldwide, in order to ensure that all countries benefit from it.

Furthermore, the transition to digital television and the analogue switch-off constitute a technical and social challenge, made all the more complex on account of the decisions to be taken on the digital dividend with a view to reducing the digital divide.

Finally, in the field of space communications, on which broadcasting and communications between many countries rely so heavily, ITU must ensure that the orbit/spectrum resource is managed as efficiently as possible. Suitable procedures are required to provide access to the orbit for all countries that need it, in particular those most highly dependent in terms of global connectivity.

In the face of all these challenges, ITU has a crucial role to play. The more ITU promotes exchanges between its members, the more effective it will be in fulfilling this role. During the many discussions I have had in recent months, and in particular at the last World Telecommunication Development Conference, I was struck by how keen administrations are to share experience on all these subjects, in which the technical component is not always the most important.

My R&D and teaching experience has taught me the importance of sharing knowledge. ITU can do a lot more in this area, as a catalyst for such exchanges, without necessarily incurring additional expense for the Union.

Question 3

The ICT world is changing rapidly. To increase ITU’s Sector membership will be key in broadening and strengthening the Union so that it continues to meet the needs of a burgeoning ICT market. In what ways can ITU’s membership system be enhanced to attract and welcome new members from all branches of ICT — from traditional players to new market entrants — while retaining existing members across its three Sectors?

François Rancy: It is by publicizing more effectively the practical solutions it brings to the table for meeting the challenges of radiocommunications that ITU–R will be able to attract new Sector Members. The Union must promote greater awareness of the results of its activities, by making them more accessible and publicizing them at the seminars it organizes or to which it contributes.

In this vein, ITU–R has already succeeded in attracting industry in the cellular mobile communications sector by providing the framework and the necessary dynamics for achieving the required harmonization. It can attract other branches of industry that also have a need for global harmonization. Nowadays, even small and medium-sized enterprises reason in terms of global markets. ITU can position itself as a vector for development of these enterprises, through revamped and simplified access and functioning.

Question 4

In 2012, ITU will hold a World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12). What are the key issues to be discussed, and what challenges and opportunities are they likely to present for ITU?

François Rancy: WRC-12 must be able to respond to all requirements, in particular those expressed by civil aviation, maritime navigation and the science services.

The digital dividend is an item to which I am particularly sensitive, having personally been closely involved in the topic during my chairmanship of WRC-07 and in my duties at the national and European levels. It illustrates the recurrent need over the past two decades to identify the new resources necessary for developing mobile services. It also illustrates ITU’s key role in this area, where international harmonization is absolutely essential, but always a very lengthy and difficult process.

WRC-12 will also continue a global assessment of the international regulatory framework for radiocommunications. The work on this subject reflects both the importance and solidity of the existing framework, and the increasingly pressing demand for the Radio Regulations to be sufficiently flexible and for avoiding or dispensing with any superfluous provisions.

Finally, I believe that WRC-12 will once again demonstrate the vital role of the ITU in the development of space services. The current efforts being undertaken by BR to ensure strict compliance with procedures and the integrity of the Master International Frequency Register pave the way for the conference to adopt new provisions that will facilitate access to the orbit/spectrum resources for all countries.

Question 5

What will be your main priorities in the next four years?

François Rancy: ITU will face many challenges in the coming years. Administrations will have to take difficult decisions, particularly where the digital dividend and deployment of digital television broadcasting are concerned. In view of its competence in such areas, BR must contribute to the assistance that administrations will expect from ITU.

The development of mobile networks must also be nurtured, firstly by continuing to allocate the necessary spectrum to the mobile service, and secondly by providing a framework for global harmonization, whether through frequency plans and technical conditions governing usage or through recommendations on harmonized technologies.

For the space services, it will be necessary both to pursue the efforts undertaken by the Bureau to clean up the Master International Frequency Register, and to facilitate access to the orbit/spectrum resources for all countries which so wish.

Question 6

ITU’s “federal” structure — made up of the General Secretariat, the Radiocommunication Sector, the Telecommunication Standardization Sector and the Telecommunication Development Sector — requires collaboration and team spirit. What do you view as the fundamental components of successful teamwork?

François Rancy: Each of the ITU Sectors has its own raison d’être. For the Radiocommunication Sector, it is the importance of global regulation to ensure equitable access to the spectrum and orbit resources, and the importance of global harmonization of the spectrum for economies of scale and roaming.

The three Sectors operate within a single organization, thereby enabling efficient operation, cooperation, exchanges and synergy, facilitated by the General Secretariat, which smoothly underpins this cooperation and unity. This obviously means that the five officials elected by the Plenipotentiary Conference must work in a spirit of teamwork, collaboration and mutual trust, sharing the same vision.

This model reflects the application of an overarching principle in ITU, namely consensus, respect and accommodation of all viewpoints in reaching decisions. I know very well and hold in high esteem both the current incumbents of these posts and the other candidates. I have no doubt whatsoever as to our capacity to work together, respecting all ITU’s principles.

Question 7

It is often said that good people are the backbone of any high-performing business activity or organization. What is your message to staff with whom you will work to implement the strategic plan and goals that will be approved by the Plenipotentiary Conference for the period 2012– 2015, within the budget that will also be decided by this conference for the same years?

François Rancy: One of ITU’s major assets is being able to count on a staff with a very high level of competence and expertise. I have no doubt about their capacity to meet the challenges that await the Union in the coming years.

The main challenge relates to the constraints that weigh on the Union’s budget. To address this, continuous attention must be given to the best way of performing the activities entrusted to BR, in pursuit of the objectives set by the Plenipotentiary Conference. Recent quality management approaches can underpin this approach, together with constant consultation involving all staff concerned. I have successfully implemented these approaches in recent years in the Agency under my responsibility.

It is by working together that we will build the future of radiocommunications.


François Rancy is an engineer, a graduate of the École Polytechnique (1977) and the École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (Paris, 1979).

From 1979 to 1997, he worked as systems engineer and subsequently Head of Department in France Télécom’s research laboratories, where he was in charge of studies on national and international satellite systems and activities relating to the spectrum and the regulation of satellite systems. As from 1992, his responsibilities expanded to cover the entire radiocommunication sphere.

From 1997 to 2004, he was Director of Spectrum Planning and International Affairs at the National Frequency Agency (ANFR). Since 2004, he has been Director-General of ANFR, responsible for frequency management in France.

At the international level, he led the coordination of European delegations (CEPT) at WRC-03 and chaired the European Union group on spectrum management policy (RSPG) in 2007. He chaired the ITU–R Special Committee on Regulatory and Procedural Matters from 1997 to 2003, and the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2007.

François Rancy has been awarded the ITU Silver Medal (2007) and the titles of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (1998) and Ordre national du mérite (1992).


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