An easier way to navigate Article 5 of the ITU Radio Regulations

RR5 TFA software ITU Article 5 Radio Regulations RR5 TFA software ITU Article 5 Radio Regulations
The 2020 edition of the ITU Radio Regulations will come into force on 1 January 2021, which will impact how radio systems operate globally.

But to ensure your radio systems are compliant with this binding international treaty, you must first understand how the radiofrequency spectrum itself is regulated.

That’s where Article 5 with its acclaimed Table of Frequency Allocations – also known as RR5 TFA – and associated footnotes come into the picture.
This information is at the heart of the Radio Regulations since it establishes the technical requirements for using spectrum – a shared and limited natural resource.

Finding the technical requirements for your needs can be more complicated than it sounds, as the Radio Regulations comprise thousands of pages in four thick volumes – at least in their physical form. Even in its digital format, navigating Article 5 of the Radio Regulations can be a complex endeavour given its inherent complexity and volume of data.

A software solution

The need quickly emerged for a consolidated view of Article 5, with an easy way to search its content as well as perform specific calculations and modelling algorithms.

After the 2012 edition of the Radio Regulations was published, software was created to meet this need. A standalone application that does not require a network or Internet connection, the software provides a way to electronically query and analyze the Table of Frequency Allocations and its associated footnotes, as they appear in the Article 5 of Radio Regulations, as well as a few related texts such as some ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) Resolutions, Recommendations, Rules of Procedure.

Built around a relational database model, the software enables users to extract and modify the National Table of Frequency Allocations for a given geographic area (country), based on the corresponding “International Plan” which results after combining the information contained in Article 5.

Why RR5 TFA matters

The RR5 TFA has evolved over time to reflect the outcomes of the various World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRCs), which decide on the harmonized, equitable, and rational global use of the limited natural resources of the frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.

Considering the flexibility provided through “country footnotes”, the RR5 TFA provides the technical and economical long-term views for introducing and accommodating new technologies and services, while maintaining and protecting existing ones. It is therefore important for countries to follow the evolution of the Table and adapt the national use of these resources accordingly.

The analysis software package can be thought of as a digital tool to check, analyze and contextualize the content of the RR5 TFA, which also helps delegations in their preparatory work for future WRCs.

It also allows the export of data in various formats, and to trace the evolution of the Article 5 Table and its associated footnotes (from the 2001 edition onwards).

What’s next for the RR5 TFA software?

As far as the data model and content are concerned, the RR5 TFA software will be regularly updated and enhanced after the release of the new edition of the Radio Regulations following each WRC, reflecting the most recently adopted decisions.

Additional functionalities are planned, such as the introduction of direct interfaces with other electronic regulatory publications (such as the RR Navigation Tool). There are also plans to link the software to the Terrestrial and Space BR International Frequency Information Circulars (BR IFICs), which would allow cross-checking with the content of the Master International Frequency Register (MIFR).

To learn more about the Radio Regulations and other radiocommunication topics, join the first week of the upcoming World Radiocommunication Seminar (WRS-20). An entirely virtual event, WRS-20 Plenary Sessions are open for the first time to all those interested!

From 30 November until 4 December, ITU will hold two sessions a day to accommodate participants in different time zones. Learn more and register here.