World Radiocommunication Conference
Highlights WRC2000 Newsroom
8 May-2June

 Istanbul, 17 May 2000 N° 8
 16 May issue

18 May issue   

The football match between UK’s Arsenal and Turkey’s Galatasaray impacts on WRC-2000

    The football match of 17 May has led to the cancellation of all night meetings as more than 10 000 people were expected to gather in Taksim Square; this square is close to the Istanbul Conference and Exhibition Centre and hotels where most delegates and staff are staying. All roads leading to the Taksim Square area were blocked to traffic and the Conference Centre closed down at 19:00. All participants – delegates and staff alike were therefore able to enjoy, for the first time in days, a much-needed quiet and restful night!

MSS allocation: a sticky issue

    Following the decision of Committee 5 to give a chance to the possibility of finding an allocation for the MSS in alternative bands pending the decision of the Plenary on the validity of the move (See WRC2000 Highlights of 16 May, under Mobile-satellite allocation: the saga continues), Working Group 5B endeavoured to assess whether there was sufficient technical material available to move ahead with the discussions. The Chairperson had to use all his talent to keep the discussions on track as delegations were often tempted to address issues of substance. Here again, the views were divergent: a number of countries pointed to the difficulties of sharing between the MSS downlink and the terrestrial, mobile and fixed services allocated to the same band and the lack of specific sharing studies in that respect, particularly for the sub-band 1518-1525 MHz.

    In the case of the corresponding MSS uplink proposed to be in a sub-band where thousands of meteorological stations are operating, it was considered that the ITU studies had been carried under specific conditions which were not applicable to the current scenario. Calculations and technical hard facts were considered necessary before proceeding. One European country informed participants that a document to be issued any time made a review of all technical information available and outlined the issues relating to the sharing studies conducted in the ITU, as well as all relevant technical ITU Recommendations that were already in force along with the relevant regulatory provisions of the Radio Regulations that were applicable.

    Another country said that, the material available (ITU-R F.758, ITU-R F.7552, ITU-R M.1141 and 1142) offered a framework within which sharing calculations could be done; it also provided parameters for a range of fixed service systems as well as a methodology for calculating the protection distance. However, while generic sharing guidelines were provided, none of this material included specific sharing studies between the MSS and fixed point-to-multipoint systems where the core of the current difficulty lay.

    Given the feeling of déjà vu and in light of the difficulty to progress in a large group as large as Working Group 5B, it was decided to set up a small group with the task to:

  1. collect and review the technical material available pertaining to the feasibility of a new allocation in a band below 1525 MHz to determine whether it was sufficient to proceed and if so
  2. study whether a new allocation is feasible considering ,first, the downlink and then the uplink
  3. perform the related technical work

Review of Recommendations and Resolutions

Incorporation by reference

    Much discussion has been going in Working Group 4B on the very definintion of the terms "incorporation by reference", a concept introduced by WRC-97 to handle texts of ITU-R Recommendations incorporated in the Radio Regulations by reference, albeit without reproducing them in full as conference documents. As part of its mandate, this Working Group had to review ITU-R Recommendations incorporated by reference in the Radio Regulations in accordance with Resolution 28. Based on the review, the Group was to decide whether or not to update the corresponding references in the Radio Regulations, in accordance with agreed principles found in Resolution 27.

Principles of incorporation by reference

    Initially, a number of delegations expressed very firm positions either to keep the status quo with regard to the text of Resolution 27 or delete it all together. These delegations were reacting to what they called radical changes made by a Sub-Working Group (4B-3) to the Resolution that could have broad legal implications for their countries. Much of the debate arose from the fact that small delegations had not been able to follow discussions in the various sub-working groups. They softened their position, following the explanation that the revisions were intended as a fundamental improvement to existing provisions. "This radical revision is a significant step forward, as the realization of such principles would bring benefits to all those who use the Radio Regulations", one delegate said.

    Some delegations expressed serious concern over the fact that the revised principles of incorporation by reference suggested that all texts incorporated by reference would be published in a "separate" volume of the Radio Regulations. For them, it was difficult to justify before their parliament who had to ratify international treaties, how texts which formed part of an international treaty could exist in a volume separate from the main treaty text (in this case, the Radio Regulations), these delegations argued. In the end, the word separate was deleted from the principles to everyone’s satisfaction.

    On the whole, the Working Group agreed that: "For the purpose of the Radio Regulations, the term ‘incorporation by reference’ shall apply only to those references intended to be mandatory. Where the relevant references are brief, the referenced material should be placed in the body of the Radio Regulations rather than using incorporation by reference. Texts which are of a non-mandatory nature or which refer to other texts of a non-mandatory nature shall not be considered for incorporation by reference".

How to apply incorporation by reference

    Another annex providing guidance on how to apply incorporation by reference was also considered and approved. For example, non-mandatory references, or ambiguous references that are determined to be of a non-mandatory character, must use appropriate linking language, for example "should" or "may". Also, mandatory references are to be explicitly and specifically identified, for example: "Recommendation ITU-R M.541-8".

Maritime mobile service

    Agreement has been reached to revise Resolution 300 which deals with the use and notification of the paired frequencies reserved for narrow-band direct-printing (NBDP) telegraphy and data transmission systems in the HF bands allocated, on an exclusive basis, to the maritime mobile service.

    Initially adopted by the World Maritime Administrative Radio Conference (Geneva, 1974), Resolution 300 was intended to serve as an interim measure concerning the use and notification of paired frequencies for NBDP telegraphy and data transmission systems in the HF bands allocated to the maritime mobile service.

    WRC-95 and WRC-97 reviewed the overall concept of notification, examination and recording of frequency assignment notices and decided to abolish the examination of the probability of harmful interference in the non-planned bands below 28 MHz, as from 18 November 1995. However, these conferences did not change the concepts of Resolution 300, making it the only instrument which requires the examination of the probability of harmful interference in the non-planned band below 28 MHz.

    In order to apply the procedures of Resolution 300, what was then the International Frequency Registration Board (today the Radio Regulations Board), developed software modules that ran on ITU mainframe computer, until the end of 1999. The reason being that this computer had to be phased out as a result of non-compliance of the related database management system with the Year-2000 requirements.

    Since 1 January 2000, the Bureau had therefore no operational tool for performing these examinations and the relevant notices have been kept in abeyance until such a time as the appropriate software module is put into production (foreseen only after 1 January 2001).

    So, despite the numerous incompatibilities identified by the Bureau during the examinations, which were communicated to the notifying administrations, the latter rarely opted for an alternative frequency. Furthermore, there were very few cases of harmful interference in these bands that were reported to the Bureau, either for information or assistance.

    In revising Resolution 300, the Working Group added a clause that requires these paired frequencies to be treated in accordance with the standard procedures in the Radio Regulations, possibly from 3 June 2000. The Radiocommunication Bureau will have to review the frequency assignments mentioned in the Resolution, which are currently recorded in the Master Register, and modify their findings so as to reflect the standard examination and recording procedures.

Secretary-General honours Duarte Reis for excellent performance

    Committee 4 started on a high note, with a short ceremony to celebrate the first World Telecommunication Day (17 May) of this millennium. The ceremony was marked by a public recognition of the excellent performance of Duarte Reis of the ITU. This year’s theme was Mobile Communications.

    "All year round, men and women in the ITU Secretariat, behind the scenes and without public recognition, carry out a fine job to enable this organization deliver value to its membership. Among them are outstanding staff who are making vital contributions towards achieving the objectives of the ITU", said Mr Utsumi during the ceremony.

    Turning to Mr Reis, the Secretary-General said: "It gives me great pleasure to recognize your excellent performance in this manner on World Telecommunication Day in the year 2000 at a time when the telecommunication industry is experiencing major reforms and is developing very rapidly. I am convinced that with staff members like you, ITU will be able to adapt to the fundamental changes sweeping across the world and will maintain its role as focal point for telecommunications in the world".

    The ceremony ended with the unexpected award of a symbolic plaque to Mr Utsumi by the Chairperson of the Conference, Mr Fatih Mehmet Yurdal on behalf of the Turkish Administration. The plaque was offered in recognition of the contribution of the ITU to world telecommunications. In extending his sincere appreciation to the vital coordinating role of ITU, Mr Yurdal expressed the pride of the Government and people of Turkey in having been one of the twenty founding members of the ITU and of being the host, 135 years later, of the biggest ITU conference.

In brief

Not an official document - For information only
16 May issue 18 May issue