World Radiocommunication Conference
Highlights WRC2000 Newsroom
8 May-2June

 Istanbul, 22 May 2000 N° 11
 19 May issue

23-24 May issue

Science services secure spectrum for future development

    The radio astronomy obtained about 100 MHz of new spectrum allocations in bands above 71 GHz. In addition, a new Resolution (COM5/4) was approved by Committee 5. It deals with the consideration by a future WRC of sharing and compatibility issues between passive and active services in adjacent bands particularly with the space services (downlinks) into radio astronomy above 71 GHz. The Resolution also calls for studies to be made to determine if and under what conditions sharing is possible, given that modifications were made on the basis of requirements known now and that little was known of requirements and implementation plans for active services in bands above 71 GHz. Also, in future, there should be a need to find additional spectrum for the active and passive services.

    Another Resolution (COM5/5) also approved today by Committee 5, deals with sharing issues between active services above 71 GHz considering that sharing between several primary active services may hinder the development of each active service in bands above 71 GHz and that sharing criteria are lacking. (See also WRC2000 Highlights of 17 May, under In Brief)

    A worldwide allocation for the earth-exploration-satellite (passive) and space research services in the band 18.6-18.8 GHz was approved with a little less than 27 MHz of additional spectrum made available. Committee 5 endorsed the recommendation to impose power limits on the emissions of the fixed and fixed-satellite services to protect the earth-exploration satellite service and space research services.

High-Altitude Platform Systems receives high attention

    WRC-2000 was required to consider regulatory provisions and additional allocations in the fixed-service for use by High-Altitude Platform Systems. At WRC-97, provisions were made for the use of the bands 47.2-47.5 GHz and 47.9-48.2 GHz and provisional regulatory procedures to enable the filing of such systems were developed. Some HAPS systems have now reached an advanced stage of development, some countries having filed such systems in bands 47.2-47.5 GHz and 47.9-48.2 GHz.

    While technical studies have been undertaken on the characteristics of a HAPS system on the coordination and sharing requirements between such systems and other systems in the conventional fixed service and in other services including radio astronomy, further studies are needed on specific areas of concern such as interference mitigation techniques to facilitate sharing between fixed-service systems using HAPS and other conventional fixed-service systems in the same geographical area.

    In terms of spectrum, WRC-2000 recognized the need to identify additional spectrum for countries of Asia and Australasia because of the effect of rain on the strength of the signals in the 47 GHz bands. The range 18-32 GHz has been proposed for possible identification of additional spectrum to this end. However, because the 18-32 GHz range is already heavily used by a number of different services, and a number of other types of applications in the fixed service and because the decision to deploy HAPS may affect neighbouring administrations, particularly in small countries, studies of the technical, sharing and regulatory aspects have been commissioned to the ITU. These studies will determine the feasibility of identifying additional frequency for use by HAPS in the 18-32 GHz range in Region 3, with focus on 27.5-28.35 and 31.0-31.3 GHz. In certain countries, the use of HAPS will be on a non-terference/non protection basis. The studies will also determine the sharing criteria to protect the radio astronomy, the earth-exploration satellite service (passive), the space research (passive) service and the space research (deep space) operating in adjacent bands. Until WRC-03, countries are invited to limit the deployment of HAPS in the lower part of the band (31.0-31.15 GHz).

    To give manufacturers and operators the confidence needed to make the necessary investments, the coordination procedure of Article S9 used for satellite networks will be applied provisionally between HAPS and satellite systems.

    In addition, High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) have potential applicability to various services such as high-capacity, competitive services to urban and rural areas, some countries have indicated their intention to make use of HAPS as base stations to deliver IMT-2000 third-generation mobile services.

    The bands identified for the use of HAPS in the context of IMT-2000 are in the 1710-2170 MHz range. The use of these bands are subject to the terms of a Resolution that provides the power limits and the values which antennas must comply with to protect stations operating in neighbouring countries as well as mobile earth stations of the satellite component of IMT-2000 from interference. The ITU has also been invited to carry out sharing studies to facilitate the co-existence of HAPS with other services operating in the same bands as well as regulatory and technical studies to determine feasibility of facilitating HAPS in fixed and mobile services in the bands allocated exclusively to terrestrial services. The studies should take account of existing use and future requirements in those bands including impact on allocations in adjacent bands. Some of the text of the Resolution could not be approved because of persisting disagreement on the degree to which the technical material it contained was to serve as guidance or was to be mandatory.

IMT-2000: time to compromise

    Great strides were made towards identifying bands for the terrestrial component of IMT-2000 in bands below 1 GHz. The associated regulatory text was also developed but needed more consultation before it could be finalized. The list of elements to be included in a resolution dealing with the identification of additional spectrum have been discussed but not yet completed. Given the high degree of interrelationships between the work done for bands below 1 GHz and those above, it was decided to await the outcome of the other drafting group (5A-2) responsible for developing the text of the footnote and related Resolution for spectrum in the 1.7/1.8 and 2.5 GHz before winding up the work in drafting group 5A-1. Drafting Group 5A-2 considered a draft Resolution based on the input of all delegations, grouped by topics. Having worked Sunday until 02:00 am on Monday and again on Monday night, the meeting managed to arrive at a consensus text with only minimal unresolved issues.

    "We have reached a crossroad and time has now come to compromise", said the Chairperson of Working Group 5A. "A large part of our industry is clearly looking at the progress achieved here and it is now imperative that all delegations work towards accommodating the views of others if results are to be achieved", he urged participants.

    The discussions then moved to the question of whether or not a single footnote should be applicable to both the core bands and the additional bands identified by WRC-2000. CITEL countries, by and large, expressed their preference to modify the existing S5.388 and integrate the new elements applicable to additional bands so as to have a single footnote. A majority however expressed their preference to leave unchanged the existing footnote applicable to the core bands (S5.388) and introduce new footnotes for the new bands. Both views were said to be expressed in the name of flexibility and equal treatment. "Footnotes serving a common purpose should be in a common format and where possible, be grouped into a single footnote with appropriate references to the relevant frequency bands. We certainly favour a single footnote that would include the existing bands. In short, one footnote, one resolution and one stop-shopping" argued CITEL countries. "There is no foundation for a single footnote", responded European countries. "The time-frame of availability and time-scales between the core and additional bands differ, it was crucial not to introduce changes that could send the wrong signals to regulators who were licensing spectrum on the basis of footnote S5.388 and there was no regulatory justification for having a single footnote. In view of the polarized views on the subject, the drafting group was invited to continue its work on the basis of the two options for consideration by Working Group 5A at a later meeting.

Little LEOs: sigh of relief

    The little LEO industry gave a sigh of relief today when Working Group 5A agreed to delete Resolution 219 by which the 405-406 MHz band had been put forward as a possible candidate band for the additional worldwide allocation to little LEOs and agreed instead to review Resolution 214 providing for sharing studies.

    They had reason to be relieved. ITU studies, confirmed by the Conference Preparatory Meeting, established that, in order to meet projected requirements for little LEOs, a range of an additional 7 to 10 MHz was required in the near future. The studies also showed that sharing between non-GSO MSS and certain terrestrial services was feasible particularly when interference mitigation techniques were used by little LEOs in the uplink to promote compatibility with terrestrial systems operating in the same frequency bands and considering that new technologies within the terrestrial mobile and broadcasting services below 1 GHz may improve sharing possibilities. The Resolution invites WRC-03 to consider, on the basis of the results of the studies, additional allocations on a worldwide basis for little LEOs. The little LEO industry is now confident that its plea for spectrum may have been finally heard.

Administrative due diligence

    A new Resolution was tabled on the "evaluation of the administrative due diligence procedure for satellite networks" (See WRC2000 Highlights of 10 May, under Paper satellites back in the limelight). A number of delegations protested the use of the words "financial due diligence" used in the draft text, arguing that neither at this conference nor at WRC-97 did they ever agree or adopt another procedure other than administrative due diligence. A number of delegations argued that financial due diligence would pose a major risk for developing countries in gaining access to the geostationary orbit. As no agreement was reached, the matter will be submitted to Committee 4.

What is administrative due diligence?

    In plain terms, it is a procedure that aims at minimizing the number of paper satellites by requiring information which becomes available when systems have reached an advanced stage of development and are soon to be deployed. This procedure requires disclosure of implementation data for satellite systems. This information includes the identity of the the satellite network, name of the adnministration, country symbol, frequency band(s), name of the operator, name of the satellite, orbital characteristics, name of the space manufacturer (in cases where a contract for satellite procurement covers more than one satellite, the relevant information shall be submitted for each satellite), date of execution of the contract, contractual "delivery window", number of satellites procured, name of the launch vehicle provider, date of execution of the contract, a launch or in-orbit delivery window, name of the launch vehicle, name and location of the launch facility.

When deleting is as hard as adding

    The proposal to abrogate Resolution 703 (Intereference criteria for the shared bands) met with a lot of opposition, even after the Chairperson of Sub-Working Group 4B-4 had explained that the Resolution had failed to achieve its target… He added that the low rate of response from Member States (90 per cent did not respond), indicated their lack of interest in the Resolution. He considered that ITU’s budget could be put to better use, as the Resolution had been overtaken by other mechanisms such as incorporation by reference. Some delegates, considering the heavy workload on the ITU, supported the abrogation, while those against argued that the group was going beyond the mandate of the conference and requested that their reservations be brought to the attention of the Committee. This Resolution has been put in square brackets, showing a lack of agreement.

In brief


The U.S. Little LEO industry rejoices with the UK delegation upon the arrival of the new little Leo as it welcomed the son of Prime Minister and Mrs Blair to the world community.


Not an official document - For information only
19 May issue 23-24 May issue