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Historical Highlights: ITU and Radiocommunication

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ITU’s work in the area of radio communications began in 1906 when the first International Radiotelegraph Conference gathered 30 maritime states in Berlin to draw up the first International Radiotelegraph Convention. The Bureau of the International Telegraph Union (ITU) was designated by the Berlin Conference to act as the central administrative organ for a variety of tasks arising from the Convention.

In 1927, the International Radiotelegraph Conference in Washington established the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) to study technical and operating questions related to radio communications and to issue recommendations on them.

In 1947, at the joint International Telecommunication Conference and International Radio Conference in Atlantic City, the International Frequency Registration Board (IFRB) was created to act as an administrative body to regulate the use of frequencies.

In 1992, the Union's Additional Plenipotentiary Conference in Geneva undertook a reform of ITU to give the Union greater flexibility to adapt to an increasingly complex, interactive and competitive telecommunications environment. ITU's three main areas of activity were organized in "Sectors":  telecommunication development, radiocommunications, and telecommunication standardization.  The CCIR was renamed the Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R).

The Radiocommunication Bureau (BR) is the secretariat for the Sector.  Created on 1 March 1993, it resulted from the fusion of the Secretariats of the former International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR), and the International Frequency Registration Board (IFRB).  It also included the Maritime Mobile document services, Radio Regulations and Associated Administrative Matters formerly of the ITU General Secretariat.​​​​​​​​​