Ambitious Agenda Greets WRC-2003 Delegates
The International Telecommunication Union’s World
Radiocommunication Conference 2003 opened on Monday 9 June to an
unprecedented work schedule. More than 2 500 delegates will spend until
4 July addressing an agenda that includes 48 items.
The large number of agenda items reflects the technological
development in the field of radiocommunications, which has resulted in a
growing range of services and applications that includes, among others,
aircraft and maritime navigation, wireless telephony, satellite
broadcasting, scientific research, and earth exploration. These services
and applications have increased the demand for radio frequencies and
geostationary satellite orbit positions.
The World Radiocommunication Conference is convened every three to
four years and plays a vital role in updating the allocation and use of
the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. It also facilitates
international coordination to avoid harmful interference between the
services as well as ensuring equitable access to the radio-frequency
spectrum, which is a limited natural resource belonging to all of
Priority Placed on Efficiency
Dr. Veena Rawat of Canada was named Chairman of WRC-03. the first
women to Chair a World Radioconference. Dr Rawat told delegates that
that the "sheer size of the agenda, makes it imperative that we
work with unprecedented efficiency." She asked delegates to keep in
mind three words, "cooperation, consensus and conservation of time
and energy." She was pleased to note that, "consensus of a
significant number of issues has already developed as a result of the
preparatory work, and from cooperation in various regional and
Given the time constraints she asked delegates to "make progress
on the issues very early so that we can devote as much time as possible
to the remaining matters." She reminded delegates that the
decisions they would take during the conference "will further
promote connectivity, directly affect the lives of our citizens and have
important economic impacts in each of our countries."
The need to think beyond political or personal agendas was stressed
by Mr Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of ITU, who asked delegates in
their deliberations to take into account the benefits for the radio
community as a whole and for all people in the world. "Let us make
good compromises and good decisions."
In addition to working as efficiently as possible, Mr Utsumi added,
"it is equally, if not more important, to discuss measures for
improving future conference processes." He noted his belief that
the cost of recent conferences had not been proportionate to the
benefits derived and he requested delegates to keep in mind some simple
questions that would need to be answered when WRC-03 concludes on 4
July. The questions posed were:
- Will you be able to explain to your colleagues and bosses what
was derived from the conference and how the decisions taken will
improve our lives?
- Will all the efforts that were made before and during the
conference be balanced by benefits derived from its decisions?
Mr Utsumi concluded by telling delegates that he and the ITU staff
would work diligently with them to ensure, "that when the four
weeks are over everybody in this room will be able to go home satisfied
and with something to be proud of."
The need for efficiency was also reinforced by the Director of the
Radiocommunication Bureau, Mr Valery Timofeev, who noted the size and
scope of an agenda, "that will test all of our skills in being able
to consider 2 500 individual proposals from Member States and within
less than four weeks to reach conclusions and decide on Final Acts to
reflect those conclusions."
It was a message that seems to be respected by the delegates, who
expressed their commitment to the objectives of the WRC-03 by completing
discussions on a number of items, which will be brought forth to
subsequent plenary meetings for approval.
These agenda items included:
- 1.18 - which dealt with primary frequency allocations to the
fixed satellite service 17.3 – 17.7 GHz for Region 1, taking
into account the primary allocations to various services in all
- 1.19 - which dealt with misapplication of specific conformance
requirements for non-geostationary satellite orbits and fixed
- 1.20 – which will consider additional allocations on a
worldwide basis for the non-GSO MSS with service links operating
- 1.27 – some elements dealing with plans for Broadcast
Satellite Services (BSS)
- 1.39 which examined the frequency spectrum requirements in the
fixed-satellite bands below 17GHz for telemetry, tracking and
telecommand of fixed-satellite service networks
The following committees have been struck in order to manage the
agenda of the Conference. The terms of reference for the Committees have
been drawn up within the framework of the basic texts of the Union, the
Conference agenda and in light of experience at previous conferences.
Committee 1 Steering Committee – Chairman Dr V Rawat, Canada
Committee 2 Credentials Committee – Chairman Mr J Edane Nkwele,
Committee 3 Budget – Chairman Mr B Gracie, Canada
Committee 4 Specified Agenda items – Chairman Mr E George, Germany
Committee 5 Specified Agenda items – Chairman Mr A Jamieson, New
Committee 6 Appendices 30,A,B – Chairman Mr K Arasteh, Islamic
Republic of Iran
Committee 7 Future Agenda and Work Programme – Chairman Mr A
Committee 8 Editorial – Chairman Mr L Bourgeat, France
The Issues of WRC-2003
The radiocommunication issues to be dealt with at WRC-03 were grouped
during the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) as the following:
- Radionavigation (terrestrial and satellite) and radiolocation
- Mobile, mobile satellite and space science services
- Fixed-satellite and broadcasting services
- Fixed and Fixed-satellite services (incorporating High Altitude
Platform Services –HAPS)
- Maritime mobile, amateur, amateur satellite and broadcasting
services in medium frequency and high frequency bands
- Equitable access to satellite orbit and frequency resources
Proposals and Positions Put Forth
The work of the Committees during its first week focused on the
introduction of proposals and documents by the various committees.
A number of substantive issues to be dealt with have been identified
by the following Committees:
- The issue of Earth stations on board vessels will be considered.
These earth stations operate with fixed satellite service
networks but with a mobile capability by virtue of their use on
ships, and can provide high-speed data, voice and video
applications. This has created some regulatory challenges for
- The way will be paved for digital HF (short wave) services by
introducing new technologies and creating new criteria for
compatibility with existing services. As well, a realignment of
available spectrum and possible additional spectrum for HF
broadcasting will be discussed in order to improve spectrum
sharing between amateur radio and HF broadcasting systems
- Amateur radio licensing requirements will be reviewed and could
possibly include doing away with the need for Morse Code as a
- Consideration of measures to address interference to HF maritime
and aeronautical mobile services.
- Addressing the need to improve the efficiency of satellite
- Regulatory and technical provisions for satellite networks using
Highly Eliptical Orbits (HEO).
- Sharing considerations between non-geostationary satellite
orbits (GSO) BSS (sound) in some Region 3 countries with other
- Issues dealing with protection of radars from fixed satellite
- Issues dealing with new allocations for mobile satellite
- Consideration of allocations for earth exploration satellite
services to monitor forest degradation, polar ice melting and
other environmental situations.
- Issues being dealt with concern the allocation of frequencies
for air navigation systems, airport landing systems, protection
for radionavigation satellite systems (GPS, Galileo and Glonass),
and radiolocation (radar) protection.
- Globally and regionally harmonized bands for future advanced
solutions to meet the needs of public protection agencies in
emergency situations and for disaster relief etc.
- New allocations for various services in the range 5150-5725 MHz
(such as Wireless LAN’s and Fixed Wireless Access systems for
high-speed Internet access, radiolocation, earth exploration
satellite services) are being proposed. The challenge will be to
accommodate requests for new allocations while at the same time
not compromising existing services.
- There is a need to recognize a growing demand for two-way
broadband communication by passengers and operators of
commercial and business aircraft. A number of technical and
regulatory approaches to meeting the demand for Aeronautical
Mobile Satellite Services in the 14-14.5 GHz band will be
- Will deal with technical and regulatory issues associated with
plans for satellite services, both BSS and FSS (appendices 30,
30A, 30B of the Radio Regulations)
- Identifying possible agenda items for future conferences. Among
- The future development of IMT-2000 systems and systems beyond
IMT-2000 will be considered. IMT-2000 systems are third
generation mobile systems, which provide access to a wide range
of telecommunication services, supported by the fixed
telecommunication networks, such as PSTN, ISDN and IP, and to
other services, which are specific to mobile users. Their
features include, among others, a high degree of commonality of
design, worldwide roaming capability and the ability to provide
multimedia applications within a wide range of services and
- Technical and regulatory requirements of terrestrial wireless
interactive multimedia applications.
- Spectrum requirements for wideband aeronautical telemetry
- Allocations in frequency bands above 275 GHz.
A more complete background document on the issues under consideration
is available here.