World Radiocommunication Conference
Highlights WRC2000 Newsroom
8 May-2June

Istanbul, 10 May 2000 N° 3
9 May issue

11 May issue   

From one punishing agenda to another?

    GT/PLEN 2 held its first meeting today. One of the essential tasks of GT/PLEN 2 is to identify items for which studies must be carried out in preparation for the next WRC and submit to the Council the proposed agenda items for that WRC and future conferences. So far, proposals from the regional groups which represent harmonized positions of countries of their respective regions, point to yet another punishing agenda of between 30 and 40 items, even before the items dependent on the outcome of the work of Committees 4 and 5 of this Conference are known!

    In some proposals, concern was expressed at the excessively heavy agendas of conferences because of the negative impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of conference work and decisions. To obviate the problem, agendas confined to the most pressing issues for which studies are either available or have achieved significant results have been advocated.

Working Group 5D
(Power limits)

    The Working Group 5D also started its work today. It organized its work with the introduction of proposals on power limits applicable to the sharing conditions among a number of space and terrestrial services in bands above 1 GHz. This concerns primarily the non-geostationary satellite of the fixed-satellite service (non-GSO FSS), the geostationary satellites of the fixed-satellite service (GSO FSS) and the geostationary satellites of the broadcasting-satellite service (BSS). The protection of satellites in the fixed satellite service against non-GSO FSS, was hotly debated in WRC-97 but a tentative agreement was reached during the Conference Preparatory meeting (CPM) in December 1999 on the possibility of sharing.

    Based on the studies that were requested by the WRC-97, this conference is to confirm the provisional power limits set at WRC 97. These limits aim at avoiding harmful interference among systems operating in the same bands while not imposing undue constraints on the development of these systems and services. WRC 2000 is to confirm the provisional power limits set at WRC 97 on the basis of the studies conducted since then.

    Today’s discussion essentially focused on the presentation of proposals, mostly by Regional groups (CITEL, APT, Europe and the Arab Group). With a large degree of consensus in the various proposals, in line with the results of the ITU studies and the agreement reached at the CPM meeting last November, it was decided to task a drafting group (Drafting Group 5D-1) to consolidate all proposals in a single document to be considered by Working Group 5D. The Drafting Group is to submit its report by next Wednesday, 17 May.

    A second item that did not need discussion at this point concerned the proposals made to identify future studies that would need to be carried out. To this end, a second Drafting Group (5D2) was set up to integrate the different proposals for future studies on issues that do not relate to reports to future conferences (and therefore have regulatory implications). It was suggested that all proposals be integrated into a single resolution.

    It was finally decided that consideration of the two agenda items on non-GSO MSS and GSO FSS networks (item 1.12 and 1.14 of the agenda) will be dealt with at the start of next meeting in the morning of 11 May.

Working Group 5C
(HAPS, Space Science, HDFS)

    Following the introduction of proposals at the first meeting of Working group 5C, it was decided to set up three sub-working groups to consider the issues relating to High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS), Space science and Earth Exploration services and High-Density Fixed Systems (HDFS) (see http://www.itu.int/newsroom/wrc2000/presskit/index.html for background information on these issues).


    The main issue for HAPS is the protection of other services using the same bands. HAPS can be deployed in two frequency bands around 48 GHz. However, considering that higher frequency bands have cost implications on systems because there are little economies of scale for equipment operating in these bands, proponents of HAPS are seeking to obtain agreement on the use of lower bands. In addition, countries that have heavy rain levels have a strong interest in using lower bands because of the way rainfall affects the quality of signals. Those opposed to this move base their position on the fact that lower bands are used by a range of services and that studies on the possibility of sharing in proposed bands would be needed, particularly in the 18 to 32 GHz range, before making a decision.

    Space science services however are seeking the use of higher bands to expand their capacity. Space science services include Radioastronomy, Earth-exploration or Space research. Space science services are more prone than others to the natural laws of physics and certain bands are more suitable than others for certain usage. For example, in remote-sensing applications, the bands to be used vary considerably depending on the surface being sensored whether it is water, oil fields, forests, etc.


    Radioastronomy, on its part, requires "quiet zones" to be able to receive incoming cosmic signals unaffected by interference to enable astronomers and others learn about the universe. What is being sought at WRC-2000 is a new allocation on an exclusive basis in the 400 GHz to 2000 GHz range as well as a worldwide allocation for the earth exploration-satellite (passive) and space research (passive) services in the band 18.6-18.8 GHz. Space science services have currently an allocation from 71 GHz to 400 GHz, on a shared basis in some of the bands.

    Sub-working group 5C2 will be looking at developing a draft proposal for consideration by Committee 5.


    The third area falling within the mandate of Working group 5C concerns High-Density Fixed Services (HDFS). The main issue is one of sharing. The problem arises from the fact that HDFS uses a high density of terminals (in large urban areas for example) thus increasing the propensity to interfere with other high-density applications using the same bands in the same service areas. This is particularly the case with non-GSO FSS. Sharing problems are also experienced with the Radioastronomy services in the bands that are adjacent to those used by HDFS (42.0-43.5 GHz). While it is generally considered that the allocation obtained at WRC 97 is adequate, it is equally agreed that services must be suitably protected. Sub-working group 5C3 will therefore be looking at possible regulatory provisions to enable HDFS to develop while ensuring protection to other services.

    The meeting concluded the day’s work on housekeeping (allocation of documents, working methods and chairpersons)

Regulatory issues

Working Group 4A
(Satellite coordination procedures)

Paper satellites back in the limelight

    Is administrative due diligence working? The question of evaluating the administrative due diligence procedure for satellite networks, which was adopted by WRC-97, was at the heart of the discussion today.

    A report by the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, presented to the meeting, showed that the administrative due diligence procedure was having no impact whatsoever on the problem of excessive filings of satellite networks.

    "Paper satellites" are satellite filings systems under coordination which do not represent real communication requirements. They are considered to be "overfilings" of a speculative nature ("slot reservations" for potential future applications or, in some cases, for slots to be used for commercial arrangements or for later distribution in the domestic or international market under re-sale, leasing or other arrangements to the highest bidder). Two proposals had been tabled at WRC-97 in an attempt to address the problem: an administrative due diligence procedure and a financial due diligence procedure. After long-drawn out negotiations, WRC-97 opted for the administrative due diligence procedure, adopting Resolution 49 to reflect that decision.

    A year later, proposals made to the Minneapolis Conference continued to express concern about the problem of paper satellites and the backlog this was creating for BR. This led the plenipotentiaries to adopt Resolution 85. Under the terms of this Resolution, WRC-2000 was required to evaluate the results of the implementation of administrative due diligence and report its findings to the next Plenipotentiary Conference scheduled for 2002.

    While BR had not encountered any administrative difficulty in applying the provisions of Resolution 49 and in gathering and publishing information, the exercise involved the collection of a huge amount of data, overburdening the already stretched resources of the Bureau.

    BR also underlined a growing trend among countries to request for extension of the regulatory period up to the maximum limit authorized by the Radio Regulations (triggered by the original date of bringing into use of their satellite networks), whenever they are asked to provide due diligence information.

    Has the administrative due diligence procedure been effective? For some, it was too early to judge. For others, this process was not working and the only reasonable means to constrain paper satellite was to adopt some form of financial due diligence and apply it to certain space networks. Some prefer to put the problem of the backlog to the complexity of the data and procedural process of the Radio Regulations and the volume of space system filings (including the extensive overfilings that occurs)."

Financial due diligence

    One proposal which advocates financial due diligence would like to see that a financial deposit be sufficiently important to be a deterrent to frivolous filings but not so high as to be a deterrent to the development of "real" networks. A deposit of about 1 per cent of the cost of building and launching a satellite into service was considered to be an adequate balance. Thus, for a typical satellite having a total bandwidth of 500 MHz, the deposit would be CHF 5 million or CHF 10 000 per MHz. It is proposed that this financial due diligence procedure be applied to all filings of the mobile-satellite service (MSS), broadcasting-satellite service (BSS) and fixed-satellite service (FSS) in the frequency bands: 3 400-8 400 MHz and 10.7-31 GHz.

    This proposal sparked a déjà vu debate with some delegations begging the question of whether the ITU was entitled to impose any financial fee on a natural resource. A system of paying fees would discriminate against developing countries in a fundamental way, these delegations argued.

    Proponents of the financial due diligence procedure have stressed that one of the consequences of the current situation for administrations and satellite operators is the very large number of satellite networks/administrations that are identified as potentially affected when new notices for real systems are submitted. This, they argue, would force the network operators to either attempt to coordinate with the many "paper satellite networks" with substantial costs or make risky assessments as to which networks are likely to be "real" and those that are likely to remain "paper".

    While some contributions address the question of the complexity of the Radio Regulations, there seemed to be no contributions which will have an impact on the volume of the filings with the Bureau.

What has been the experience so far?

    In order to help administrations comply with Resolution 49 on due diligence, BR had provided them with a comprehensive list of planned or existing satellite networks for which the administrative due diligence information was required. The list focused on the most urgent requirements such as the satellite networks with a date of their being brought into use (including any authorized extension prior to 1 July 1998).

    It was also noted that in the case of networks for which an Advance Publication of Information (API) was received prior to 22 November 1997, the period for bringing the satellite into use may be six years plus a three-year possible. The result is that, for a majority of cases, the due diligence information needs to be provided by 21 November 2003 at the earliest. Any effect of administrative due diligence may not, therefore, be fully apparent until at least that date.

A case in point

    The BR had also sought the advice of the Radio Regulations Board (RRB), following a letter from the Russian Administration disputing the Bureau’s conclusions regarding Russian satellites featured in a list of networks proposed for cancellation because due diligence information on them was missing. That administration expressed the view that Resolution 49 did not apply to satellite networks which have been implemented (including the associated earth segments) and notified as having been put into operation. Discussions on these issues will continue.

Two sub-working groups set up

    Working Group 4A also decided to set up two sub-working groups: one (Sub-Working Group 4A1) to revise Appendix S7 to the Radio Regulations according to option 3 (see WRC2000 Highlights 9 May, page 4) based on a new Recommendation approved last week by the Radiocommunication Assembly. The other (Sub-Working Group 4A2) will prepare text for the revision of Appendix S13 to the Radio Regulations (distress and safety communications other than the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System).

Working Group 1 of the Plenary

Towards an agreement on BSS replanning

    A major document was tabled today by a group of over 25 countries from Europe, Arab States and Africa as part of the possible elements they have defined towards an agreement on the issue of replanning at WRC-2000. Given the complexity of some of the issues, compromises are necessary at an early stage of the Conference.

    According to the document the BSS Plan will normally contain ten channels per coverage area for Region 1, representing a continuous band of 400 MHz. It should also include the additional assignments for national coverage.

    The countries sponsoring this key document find the current sharing criteria overly conservative. To avoid meeting with the same deficiencies as in the 1977 Plan, the planning must take into account the mutual protection of the relevant networks on the basis of more realistic criteria in order to satisfy the needs of the administrations. In order for the planning to benefit from these new criteria, WRC-2000 has to adopt them before 12 May 2000 to enable the Conference secretariat to prepare a final Plan while ensuring compatibility between the new Plan, the assignments for which the procedure applied for modifying parameters of existing assignments or seeking a new assignment has been successfully completed as well as with other services. They also need to be used in the framework of the sharing procedures implying BSS assignments in the planned bands.

    The document further states that, as the Plan will be based on digital modulation, new additional uses in the BSS in the planned bands should be limited to digital modulation.

    In adopting the final Plan, the Conference, will have to ensure that it is compatible with

  1. the assignments in the BSS for which, as of 12 May 2000 at 1700 hours, the procedure of the current Article 4 of Appendix S30 has been successfully completed and the due diligence information specified in Annex 2 of Resolution 49 (WRC-97) has been received by the Bureau;
  2. the assignments in the FSS which, as of 12 May 2000 at 1700 hours, have been notified to the Bureau with the required coordination agreements and for which, by that date, the due diligence information specified in Annex 2 of Resolution 49 (WRC-97) has been received by the Bureau
  3. terrestrial services
  4. the Region 2 BSS Plan.

    GT PLEN Ad hoc 1 (see WRC2000 Highlights of 9 May, page 3) is expected to submit a document on the replanning criteria to its parent Working Group on Thursday afternoon (11 May) so that the BSS planning team can start the replanning work by Friday night.

Not an official document - For information only
9 May issue 11 May issue