ITU Member States from the Central American and Caribbean regions, together with regional organizations, gathered in Managua, Nicaragua from 8 to 10 March for the Regional Frequency Coordination Meeting on the use of the VHF and UHF bands.
"The focus of this regional coordination meeting was to foster consensus in the Central American and Caribbean regions towards conclusion of formal agreements between the administrations before formal notification of the relevant frequency assignments to the ITU," said ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao.
The regional coordination meeting was kindly hosted by the regulator of Nicaragua, TELCOR, and organized by the ITU, in collaboration with CITEL, COMTELCA i and CTU. Its purpose was to initiate multilateral coordination to ensure the compatibility of national frequency plans in support of terrestrial television broadcasting and mobile broadband in the VHF band (174-216 MHz) and UHF band (470-806 MHz) in the region, taking into account:
- Current and future plans, if any, for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Mobile Broadband
- The need, where applicable, for simulcast digital and analogue transmissions
- The standards adopted at national level for DTT and the Mobile Broadband channelling plans
- The timelines and activities for frequency assignment and planning
"This meeting and the following ones will facilitate the processes of transition from analogue to DTT and allocation of the Digital Dividend, taking into account the large separation distances required to ensure mutual compatibility among broadcasting and mobile stations in the VHF and UHF bands. The overall objective is to ensure compatible operation for each of them, thus preventing the occurrence of harmful interference situations, which otherwise could extend several hundred kilometres into the territory of the countries involved," said François Rancy, Director of ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau.
CITEL, COMTELCA and CTU highlighted that technical progress and regional coordination of frequencies is crucial and that, with the transition from analogue to digital platforms, the resulting networks will be more efficient, providing opportunities for a wide variety of communication applications and services for the peoples of the Americas.
This meeting initiated a series of iterations and bilateral discussions aimed at resolving the incompatibilities identified in the frequency plans proposed by the countries involved. A second regional meeting is scheduled to take place in Guatemala City, Guatemala, from 28 August to 1 September 2017.
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I Comisión Tecnica Regional de Telecomunicaciones (Comtelca) is a technical commission that unites, disseminates and assists the telecommunication regulators in 6 countries of Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama).