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ITU updates global treaty which enables better access to affordable broadband technologies

The 2020 edition of the ITU Radio Regulations governs the global use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits

Geneva, 15 September 2020

​​​​​​The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today published the 2020 ITU Radio Regulations — the international treaty governing the global use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits — which enables innovative ways to promote access to affordable broadband technologies. 

The publication contains the complete texts of the Radio Regulations adopted during the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19), held last year in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. 

The 2020 ITU Radio Regulations will come into force for all signatory parties on 1 January 2021. 

“The publication of the Radio Regulations is the culmination of the hard work and intense deliberations that took place during WRC-19," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Efficient and economical use of the naturally limited radio-frequency spectrum is key to ensuring we bring the benefits of connectivity and digital transformation to people everywhere. The ITU Radio Regulations are a vital vehicle for this endeavour." 

The ITU Radio Regulations facilitate equitable access to and rational use of the natural resources of the radio-frequency spectrum and geostationary satellite orbits. They also ensure the availability of the frequencies provided for distress and safety purposes and assist in the prevention and resolution of cases of harmful interference between the radio services of different administrations. Further, the regulations facilitate the efficient and effective operation of all radiocommunication services and, where necessary, regulate new applications of radiocommunication technology. 

Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, said: “In a rapidly evolving digital wireless world, the Radio Regulations provide an opportunity for all countries to develop innovative ways to promote access to affordable universal next -generation broadband technologies." He added, “we have published the 2020 ITU Radio Regulations within the agreed timeframe, despite the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. My heartfelt congratulations to all those that have contributed to this great success." 

The Radio Regulations cover fixed and mobile radio services, satellite systems, radio and TV broadcasting, radionavigation, meteorological monitoring, space research and Earth exploration, as well as amateur radio services. It also prescribes how radio equipment and systems must operate to ensure efficient and effective coexistence and utilization of today's increasingly crowded airwaves. 

The first International Radio Telegraph Convention was signed in Berlin on 3 November 1906, bringing together 30 maritime states. Since then, the Radio Regulations have evolved with 114 years of revisions and innovations into the 4-volume treaty of more than 2000 pages. They now cover more than 40 different radiocommunication services and frequencies ranging from 8.3 kHz to 3000 GHz, with internationally agreed governing principles and regulations on which the rights and obligations of ITU's 193 Member States to use the spectrum and satellite orbit resources are based. 

The 2020 Radio Regulations are available in all six of ITU's official languages. Electronic versions of the Regulations can be downloaded free of charge.  The traditional four-volume boxed set, as well as a multi-lingual DVD will be available for purchase in the coming weeks.

To download or pre-order the ITU Radio Regulations (2020 edition), in your preferred language click here.