World Radiocommunication Conference
Highlights WRC2000 Newsroom
8 May-2June

 Istanbul, 26-29 May 2000 N 14
 25 May issue

Final countdown to the Final Acts

Thumbs up for IMT-2000

    Friday was marked by the agreement on all essential elements concerning the IMT-2000 package. Long seen as one of the major issues of this Conference, delegations were very pleased to reach a positive ending. The package agreed upon by Committee 5, consists of interrelated parts: a terrestrial component below 1 GHz, another above 1 GHz and a satellite component. Comparing the package to the fine public and historical buildings of Istanbul that have been finely crafted, the chairperson of Working Group 5A introduced the package as robust, sustainable and strong. "It is based on hard debates and vigorous discussions" he said. "I believe that the package delivers on the principles we all agreed upon and represents something for everyone". The following principles, established early in the Conference, guided the negotiations:

    The package included changes to the Table of Frequency Allocations by the addition of four footnotes and three Resolutions which, together, provide the regulatory provisions governing the use of the identified bands for IMT-2000.

    Committee 5 fine-tuned the various elements of the text, with delegations attempting at times to gain ground by reopening some of the issues already agreed upon. The successful outcome of Committee 5, with respect to IMT-2000, is the result of debates conducted with an iron hand.

    Most of the arguments and tactics were the same as those of the past three weeks. "If the debate is re-opened", warned the chairperson, "it could well take us another three weeks to come back to where we are". Urging delegates to stick to their compromise, the chairperson said "one of the principles of negotiations is that you must limit your playing field to join the others". The message was heard five on five and the package adopted.

    The Plenary endorsed the package on Monday (see ITU press release of 31 May 2000 entitled "Thumbs up for IMT-2000" at http://www.itu.int/newsroom/).

High-Density Fixed Service

    The allocations made to the High-Density Fixed Service cover a range of 6.5 GHz of spectrum and nine different services and is intended to provide a global solution to this part of the spectrum. The package includes: the availability of spectrum in the 30-50 GHz range for use by the high-density fixed service, a series of footnotes and associated resolutions that provide the regulatory provisions to be observed when deploying HDFS in these bands, and modifications to Table S21-4 which includes the various power limits necessary to protect HDFS from other space services allocated to these or to adjacent bands.

    A debate broke out in an attempt by the chairperson to deal with some text on which agreement had not been reached earlier in the working group (proposed new footnote S5.547Y), identifying the band 40-40.5 GHz for high-density applications in the fixed-satellite service. A group of countries considered that the lack of identified bands for use by high-density applications in the fixed-satellite service did not provide a stable environment necessary for deployment. In this context, the band 40-40.5 GHz was given as a possible candidate for high-density systems in the fixed-satellite service (HD-FSS). This choice was prompted by the fact that there were no high-density applications in that band and that it was possible to identify a minimum of 500 MHz out of the total 6.5 GHz of the needed bandwidth in the range 37-43 GHz.

    Opponents however argued that the band 40-40.5 GHz was not identified for high-density fixed satellite applications and was therefore outside the scope of this Conference and should be deleted. Otherwise, this would mean that one could also consider high-density for MSS, high-density for BSS, high-density for mobile. There was therefore no reason to introduce footnote S5.547Y. The chairperson once more had to end the debate by forcing a compromise. He proposed to delete the text of the footnote and insert a clause in footnote S5.547 and in Resolution COM5/28, stating that bands had not been identified for HD-FSS by this Conference but that there were a number of proposals to identify the bands 39.5-40 GHz and 40.5-42 GHz for HD-FSS, which should be taken into account when considering regulatory provisions.

    Another bone of contention was the push to add a new allocation for downlink to the mobile-satellite service in all three Regions in the band 40.5-41 GHz on a secondary basis. For the proponents, the widespread use of HDFS around the world below 40 GHz, and the various pfd limits that were set by this Conference to protect HDFS from other services in those bands had created a situation which would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the MSS to operate in that portion of the range. The proposed secondary allocation was therefore only to offer the possibility for the MSS to operate and provide some possible future growth opportunity that had effectively been eliminated by the growth of HDFS below 40 GHz.

    For the opponents, the long-term implications of this proposed allocation could not be evaluated as it was not on the agenda of the Conference, nor had studies been conducted. While they agreed that secondary allocations were supposed to protect primary allocations, the approach was wrong as it would imply that all services in this band could be turned into secondary allocations. It was premature to take a decision without due consideration of the implications and evaluation of the real requirements and this matter should be taken up at the next conference.

    After a show of hands, indicating that the proposed allocation was not widely supported, the proposed allocation was not included in the Table of Frequency Allocations for Regions 1 and 3 but was included for Region 2 where support was clearly expressed.

    The decisions taken by way of the footnotes or Resolutions include, in particular, constraints on non-GSO FSS in order to protect the fixed service and provisional power limits for non-GSO FSS, non-GSO BSS, GSO FSS and GSO BSS to protect the radio astronomy service in the band 42.5-43.5 GHz. The values of Table S21-4 have been modified and are to be applied provisionally to space stations of non-GSO networks operating with 99 or less satellites, as further study would be needed to determine whether these values are applicable to networks operating with 100 or more satellites.

    COM5/28 calls for a series of studies. In particular, studies will be conducted by ITU to determine whether the power limits provisionally entered in Table S21-4 adequately protect the fixed service in the bands 37.5-40 GHz and 42-42.5 GHz from downlink transmissions in the fixed-satellite and mobile-satellite services and in the band 40.5-42.0 GHz from the fixed-satellite service. Other studies will be carried out on the technical and operational characteristics and pfd values for the broadcasting-satellite service in the range 40.5-42.5 GHz. Other technical studies are also requested including mitigation techniques to improve sharing conditions between some space and fixed service systems. On the basis of the results of these studies, WRC-2003 will review the provisional limits agreed at this Conference. In light of the decisions taken, the deletion of 4 Resolutions (133 129, 134 and 726) was endorsed.

    With respect to the protection of radio astronomy in the band 42.5-43.5 GHz, Resolution 128 was revised, requesting the application of pfd limits to stations of the BSS and FSS services for which all coordination or notification information will have been submitted between WRC-2000 and WRC-2003. It also requests a number of studies including the review of the pfd limits adopted to protect the radio astronomy service and the identification of technical and operational measures in the band 41.5-42.5 GHz, including possible mitigation techniques to further protect the radio astronomy service in the band 42.5-43.5 GHz from emissions of the broadcasting-satellite and fixed-satellite services.

    Finally, a Resolution was adopted to conduct studies to develop the technical basis for coordination between stations of the radio astronomy and HDFS in the fixed service in the band 42.5-43.5 GHz (COM5/27).

NGSO/GSO: the epilogue

    Following the request made by the Chairperson of Committee 5 that the parties to this issue get together informally to come up with a text that would be considered at the final meeting of Committee 5, it was reported on Saturday 27 May that this had not been possible. Considering the lack of time, a statement for the minutes of Committee 5 was made. According to this statement, the limits adopted at this Conference ensured full protection of all systems and services allocated in the bands covered by Resolutions 130,131 and 538 (Ku bands), as well as to the BSS Plans. Moreover, the limits adopted in section VI of S22 ensured fully the protection of non-GSO FSS systems. Nonetheless, the clause which stated that NGSO FSS should not claim protection from GSO FSS operating in accordance with the Radio Regulations had been accepted on account that this statement as well as the response from the Radio Regulations Board to the question raised on 25 May (See WRC2000 Highlights of 25 May, under GSO/non-GSO) would be recorded in the minutes of the meeting. It was agreed that the Radio Regulations Board would make its response known at the Plenary meeting, Committee 5 having ran out of time.

Wireless access systems

    The Conference agreed to consider, at WRC-2003, possible allocations to provide globally harmonized frequencies in the range 5150-5725 MHz for the fixed and mobile services for wireless access systems, including radio local area networks (RLANs).

    The Resolution comes in the wake of the recent approval, by the Radiocommunication Assembly, of characteristics for broadband RLANs to promote global portability of computer equipment. Broadband RLAN systems, which use high data rates of more than 20 Mbit/s, make it possible to move a computer within a certain area such as an office, a factory, or a warehouse to maintain contact with lift trucks or a SOHO (Small Office Home Office). One of the most useful features of RLANs is the connection of mobile computer users to their own LAN network without wires. In future, computer users seeking free movement with bit rates equivalent to those of conventional wired LANs will no longer be bound to a desk.

    In preparation for WRC-2003, the ITU will conduct and complete the appropriate studies leading to technical and operational recommendations that would facilitate sharing between these new services and existing ones. Studies under way in ITU indicate that sharing in the band 5150-5350 MHz between RLANs and space services is feasible under certain conditions.

    Based on the results of these studies, the findings of the Conference Preparatory Meeting, and country proposals, WRC-2003 is expected to consider allocation of frequencies to the fixed and mobile services in the bands 5150-5725 MHz for the implementation of wireless access systems, including RLANs.

Jumping the regulatory hurdles

Evaluation of the administrative due diligence procedure for satellite networks

    After several meetings, Committee 4 reached agreement (29 May) on a new Resolution dealing with the evaluation of the administrative due diligence procedure which has been in force since 22 November 1997. Given that countries have generally requested extension of the regulatory period for bringing their satellites into use up to the maximum limit authorized by the Radio Regulations, the effect of administrative due diligence may not, however, be fully apparent until at least 21 November 2003.

    For this reason, it was considered difficult to assess the impact of this procedure on the problem of reservation of orbit and spectrum capacity without actual use. The Committee concluded that further experience was needed in the application of the administrative due diligence procedures adopted by WRC-97, and that several years may be needed to see whether the procedure yields satisfactory results.

    Many delegations agreed that it was premature to consider, among other procedures, the adoption of any financial due diligence procedure. A report by the Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau on the results of the implementation of the administrative due diligence procedure will therefore be submitted to the 2002 Plenipotentiary Conference to take appropriate action.

Non-GSO satellite systems for broadcasting-satellite service (sound)

    Prior to WRC-2000, there were no coordination procedures applicable to non-GSO broadcasting-satellite (sound) systems in the band 2535-2655 MHz in relation to other non-GSO or GSO satellite networks in certain countries of Region 3. In addition, the current regulatory provisions limit the use of the band by BSS sound systems to the upper 25 MHz of the band.

    Satellite technology has now advanced to the stage where non-GSO systems in the broadcasting-satellite service (sound) are technically and economically feasible when operated with high elevation angles. Such BSS sound systems can be used for the delivery of high quality, spectrally efficient service to portable and mobile terminals and a number of them are expected to be brought into use in the near future.

    Under the terms of the Resolution, a high elevation angle would be made mandatory for non-GSO BSS brought into operation in the 2630-2655 MHz band in Region 3 for sharing with terrestrial services.

    Some delegations had trouble with this provision as this could be considered as an official definition of highly elliptical orbits, while others said the text was a very delicate balance and a true reflection of the tremendous efforts they had made to accommodate all views. As such, the text should be left in its current form. One delegation could not understand why such a mandatory requirement, which was serving the interests of only a few big powers, should be imposed on smaller nations and reserved its right to come back to the matter in Plenary.

    It was decided that before filing a frequency assignment for non-GSO BSS (sound) in the 2630-2655 MHz band, or bringing it into use, prior agreement of any country having a primary allocation to terrestrial services in the same frequency band would need to be obtained, if power limits on its territory exceeds agreed thresholds. The elevation angle value and the power limits threshold values would be applied provisionally until the end of WRC-2003 and non-GSO satellites in the BSS (sound) would be limited to national services unless agreement had been reached to include the territories of other countries in the service area.

    It was also decided to conduct the necessary studies to develop calculation methodologies and sharing criteria as well as technical and regulatory studies relating to frequency sharing between systems in the broadcasting-satellite service (sound) and terrestrial services in the band 2535-2655 MHz with a view to avoiding to constrain either service.

Temporary procedures for improving satellite filing procedures

    There now exists a large backlog of satellite filings, 95 per cent of which concern geostationary-satellite networks.

    In view of the processing delay which can go up to three years and, in light of the five-year limit to place a network into operation, countries can be faced with a reduced time window in which to accomplish coordination.

    The committee concluded that extraordinary measures were needed to enable the elimination of the backlog in processing satellite network coordination requests. This was considered justified on account that the continued viability and credibility of the ITU satellite coordination process was at stake as the current situation seriously compromises the ability of several networks to provide services.

    The measures endorsed by the Committee to help speed up the process include the electronic submission of data for the advance publication, coordination and notification of all satellite networks, radio astronomy notices and due diligence information in electronic format compatible with the ITU software "SpaceCap". Countries will also be encouraged to submit all graphical data associated with the submissions electronically although paper submissions will continue to be accepted. Developing countries making no more than three filings a year will be able to continue to submit filings on paper until 3 June 2001.

    As from 3 September 2000, forms that are not submitted electronically will be considered as incomplete and returned without being processed. The same will apply to data initially submitted on paper that will not have been resubmitted electronically by 3 October 2000. While the Bureau will not compare the paper and electronic filings, both filings will be made available to countries who will have until 1 March 2001 to report any inconsistencies.

    The Resolution further instructs ITU to make available coordination and notification filings, "as received" on its International Frequency Information Circular (IFIC) CD-ROM, as well as on its website within 30 days of receipt.

With this issue, we say goodbye to our readers. We hope our coverage was useful in following the Conference work. The main outcome of the Conference will be published in the final press release available on our website at http://www.itu.int/newsroom/wrc2000/

The Editors
Francine Lambert, Head, Corporate Communication
Patricia Lusweti, Editor, ITU News

Not an official document - For information only
25 May issue