WRC-23: Regions prepare spectrum proposals featured image

WRC-23: Regions prepare spectrum proposals

By ITU News

Regional telecom organizations have highlighted key topics for discussion at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23).

Six main regional telecommunication organizations (RTOs) serve as forums for regional discussions and consensus-building among governments, regulators, and telecommunication service and equipment providers. Their input is crucial ahead of quadrennial updates to the Radio Regulations maintained by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The six RTOs — namely the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), the Arab Spectrum Management Group (ASMG), the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), and the Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications (RCC) — have all worked to produce well-coordinated common proposals to WRC-23 from their respective regions.

Different regional perspectives

The Arab States are eager to examine how satellite technologies can enhance broadband services to improve connectivity, particularly in remote areas where terrestrial services are unavailable or out of reach. Tariq Al Awadhi, Chairman of the Arab Spectrum Management Group, says the region has also focused on appropriate spectrum allocation and necessary safeguards for Earth exploration-satellite services and space research.

Key issues for Africa include the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band and spectrum-sharing between satellite and mobile-broadband services. According to John Omo, Secretary General of the African Telecommunication Union, the challenge lies in balancing the needs of incumbent services against those of proposed new ones.

For Europe, the future of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) broadcasting band is a high-profile issue with implications for television broadcast, programme-making and special events (PMSE), and other European industries, as well as public protection and disaster relief. Alexandre Kholod, Chairman of the Conference Preparatory Group, European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), says Europe also seeks to set clear rules for unmanned aircraft controlled via fixed-satellite service (FSS) networks, recognizing the safety aspects of aviation in “route” airspaces.

The Commonwealth of Independent States is interested in both the implementation of 5G — also known as IMT-2020 — and mega non-geostationary satellite orbit (non-GSO) satellite systems in different frequency bands. Albert Nalbandian, Chairman of the Working Group on preparation for WRC-23/RA-23, Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications, says the Radio Regulations must maintain the balance between existing and new radio services.

The Americas region looks to strengthen the deployment of modern, resilient, secure telecommunications and digital infrastructure and help enhance the region’s policy and regulatory frameworks to connect the unconnected — all with a special emphasis on vulnerable populations and remote areas with difficult access. Víctor Martínez, Chairman of the Working Group for Regional and World Radiocommunication Conferences, Inter-American Telecommunication Commission, adds that the region seeks to cover all agenda items with the same level of importance and relevance, and that the preparatory work relates to regional priorities of the Americas that were defined during the last World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC).

The preparatory group for Asia and the Pacific hopes for a decision at WRC-23 to improve the technical and regulatory framework for high-altitude platform stations (HAPS), aiming to encourage their roll out and expansion.  In addition, notes Kyu-Jin Wee, Chairman of APG-23, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, the Member States in the region would support new kinds of satellite services, such as earth stations in motion (ESIM), as long as existing services are protected.

The process behind the conference

Regional preparations for each World Radiocommunication Conference follow a well-established process. This is a key element of the success of the quadrennial ITU treaty conference to update the Radio Regulations.

The multi-stakeholder approach within each region engages governments, regulatory authorities, network operators, equipment suppliers, and regional and international organizations in the development of convergent technical and regulatory solutions that create a stable, predictable environment that is universally applied. This is essential for the provision of and future investment in radiocommunication services.

Upcoming 2nd conference preparatory meeting

The Second Conference Preparatory Meeting for WRC-23 (CPM-23-2), takes place between 27 March and 6 April in Geneva, Switzerland.

The output of CPM23-2 will set the stage for WRC-23, where ITU Member States will endeavour to find solutions that enable the introduction of new technologies, provide a stable regulatory framework, support the modernization of global radiocommunication systems, and protect existing services.

Read the ITU News Magazine: Countdown to WRC-23, outlining the conference preparatory meeting process as well as key technical and regional perspectives on topics to be discussed at WRC-23, taking place in Dubai, UAE, between 20 November and 15 December 2023.

Header image credit: Adobe Stock

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