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World Radiocommunication Conference set for early 2012
Geneva 23 January to 17 February 2012
photo credit: ITU/V. Martin
“ The WRC process helps to improve regulatory procedures, to provide frequency and orbit resources for new technologies, and to strengthen the technical framework for the operation of services. ”

Valery Timofeev, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau
Фото: ITU

The next ITU World Radiocommunication Conference will take place in Geneva on 23 January−17 February 2012, preceded by the Radiocommunication Assembly on 16−20 January. The conference (WRC-12) has the very important task of reviewing the international treaty that governs radiocommunications — the ITU Radio Regulations.

The review will need to reflect the major developments that will have taken place since the previous conference (WRC-07), held in late 2007. For example, there has been convergence of some radio services due to the deployment of nextgeneration networks (NGN), while new radio applications and technologies are arriving on the scene.

A major focus of WRC-12 will be on fi nding appropriate mechanisms for sharing the radio-frequency spectrum that is being freed up by the move from analogue to digital television broadcasting (see article in ITU News of September 2009). It will also identify the spectrum requirements for services to increase security for maritime and aeronautical transport. Additional spectrum resources will be identifi ed for scientifi c and other radiocommunication services, specifi cally related to the environment, meteorology and climatology, as well as disaster prediction, mitigation and relief.

photo credit: ITU/V. Martin
The meeting was “geared towards achieving a common position for the African continent”.

Akossi Akossi, Secretary-General of the African Telecommunication Union

Preparing the way, with a focus on Africa

Because of the far-reaching agenda (with 25 specific issues and eight permanent items), thorough preparation is needed for WRC-12, as well as a clear understanding of the complexities. To assist with this, ITU is organizing a series of meetings where governments and industry can address the issues on a fl exible and preliminary basis, ahead of the formal Conference Preparatory Meeting in 2011. The first of these preliminary meetings was held in Geneva on 14–16 September 2009, in collaboration with the African Telecommunication Union (ATU). It was chaired by Aboubakar Zourmba, Assistant Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Cameroon.

In addition to participants from ATU, the five other regional telecommunication organizations were represented: the Arab Spectrum Management Group (ASMG); the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT); 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).

Some 200 participants were able to learn more about the preparations being made for WRC-12 by ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau (BR). They also exchanged information and views on the ongoing studies regarding agenda items, as well as on the common proposals of the regional groups and other organizations. Discussions at the meeting helped to identify those agenda items of particular interest for African countries, including such sensitive issues as the operation of security systems for ships and ports, and the shared use of the planned digital television spectrum.

BR Director Valery Timofeev noted that the agenda for WRC-12 is likely to be as complex as that for WRC-07. He underlined the need to continue the trend towards increasing the number of common and coordinated proposals. “This process, which highlights the great spirit of international cooperation and consensus building at ITU, has proved to be increasingly successful in the WRC process.” Mr Timofeev went on to add that the level of participation at the meeting indicated the importance of the WRC process in the effort “to improve regulatory procedures, to provide frequency and orbit resources for new technologies, and to strengthen the technical framework for the operation of services.”

ATU Secretary-General Akossi Akossi described the first preparatory meeting for WRC-12 as “geared towards achieving a common position for the African continent”.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said that WRC-12 will be an important event for the future of information and communication technologies (ICT), and a landmark in achieving ITU’s connectivity targets. “WRC-12 will be held only three years ahead of 2015 — the target date set by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to connect all villages, towns and cities, and universities and schools of the world and to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals,” emphasized the Secretary-General. “If there is a chance to meet these goals, we must rely on ICT to accelerate the process and bridge the digital divide,” he concluded, and radiocommunications will be central in this effort.


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