International Telecommunication Union WRC-12 Weekly
WRC-Weekly - Issue 4
Previous Issue No. 4, 13-17 February 2012

A bright future ahead for our wireless world

WRC-12 ended on 17 February 2012 with 153 countries having signed the Final Acts updating the Radio Regulations – the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. The work accomplished under the deft leadership of Chairman Tariq Al Awadhi is colossal. The fourth week saw a one all-night session, with many decisions taken, notably in the areas of mobile broadband, the digital dividend, interferences, and streamlining satellite regulations to clarify some of the rules applied in the coordination and notification of satellite networks. Other decisions include a new worldwide allocation for the safe operation of unmanned aircraft systems and a new secondary allocation for the amateur service.


ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré presenting the ITU Silver Medal and Certificate to the WRC-12 Chairman,  Tariq Al Awadhi of the United Arab EmiratesSpeaking at the closing ceremony, ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré said: “WRC-12 has helped to define new and better ways to regulate radio services and applications, and represents a major contribution in making the world a better place for all.” Dr Touré thanked the Chairman, “for the calm manner in which he has conducted the work of the conference, his friendship, his brotherhood and his competence”.  He also congratulated the United Arab Emirates “for providing one of their best sons to lead the conference”.
 
Mr Al Awadhi commented that the negotiations were "sometimes difficult", but added, "we have arrived at consensus that will shape the way we communicate in the future." François Rancy, Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau (BR) congratulated the Chairman for “permitting, throughout the conference, an unprecedented spirit of mutual understanding, cooperation and respect”.
 
All three men thanked the conference vice-chairmen, as well as all the committee chairmen and vice-chairmen, members of the Radio Regulations Board, delegates and ITU and BR staff and experts, with Mr Rancy stating that all these people “have shown excellence and dedication during this four-week long and very cold days (and sometimes nights) required to meet the challenges of arriving at a WRC-12 Final Acts that can be signed by all today.” This, Mr Rancy added, “does not include the bilateral negotiations and informal meetings, as well as the many weekend meetings that were required.” The Radiocommunication Bureau stands ready to continue the challenge from this point on until the next conference in assisting all administrations in implementing the Radio Regulations, he said.  
 
WRC-12 was also about planning the future. In this regard, the conference approved an agenda for WRC-15 (Resolution COM6/6(WRC-12)) and a preliminary agenda for WRC-18 (Resolution COM6/7(WRC-12)), along with many resolutions mandating the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) to undertake studies in time for these two future conferences. Immediately after WRC-12, the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM), held a session on 20-21 February 2012 to plan the preparatory work for WRC-15. This final Issue of the WRC-12 Weekly highlights some of the major outcomes of the final week.

 


Mobile broadband high on the agenda of WRC-15 for more spectrum

Delegations from around the world hailed, as a great success, their decision to place on the agenda of WRC-15 an item “to consider additional spectrum allocations to the mobile service on a primary basis and identification of additional frequency bands for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) and related regulatory provisions, to facilitate the development of terrestrial mobile broadband applications”. Since WRC-07, there has been tremendous growth in the demand for these applications − and IMT systems have been the main method of delivery.


IMT and other mobile broadband systems contribute to global economic and social development by providing a plethora of multimedia applications, such as mobile telemedicine, teleworking and distance learning. In all countries where IMT systems are deployed, the number of users of these systems and the quantity and rate of data they carry continue to grow rapidly – largely driven by audiovisual content. Many countries are banking on IMT and other mobile broadband systems to reduce the digital divide between urban and rural areas, including underserved communities.


In many developing markets the main delivery mechanism for broadband access is expected to be through mobile devices. Other radiocommunication systems, such as radio local area networks, support a plethora of mobile broadband applications. Adequate and timely availability of spectrum and supportive regulatory provisions are essential to bolster future growth of IMT and other mobile broadband systems.


There is a need to continually take advantage of technological developments not only to increase the efficient use of spectrum, but also to facilitate access to this finite resource. Harmonized worldwide bands and harmonized frequency arrangements for IMT and other mobile broadband systems are highly desirable in order to achieve global roaming and the benefits of economies of scale.
Although spectrum was already identified in the Radio Regulations for IMT, many countries have not yet made it available for various reasons, including its use by other systems and services. Proximity to bands already identified for IMT may lead to reduced complexity in equipment design.


There is a need to protect existing services when considering frequency bands for possible additional allocations to any service. Frequency-related matters for IMT in certain frequency bands below 6 GHz were studied in preparation for WRC-07, and WRC-07 decided upon technical conditions and regulatory procedures in some of these bands.


IMT encompasses both IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced, as described in Resolution ITU-R 56. Resolution ITU-R 57 addresses the principles for the process of development of IMT-Advanced, and Question ITU-R 77 considers the needs of developing countries in the development and implementation of IMT. Question ITU-R 229 seeks to address the future development of IMT. Recommendations ITU-R M.1457 and ITU-R M.2012 contain detailed specifications of the terrestrial radio interfaces of IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced, respectively/.


There is a fairly long lead time between the identification of frequency bands by world radiocommunication conferences and the deployment of systems in those bands, and timely availability of spectrum is therefore important to support the development of IMT and other terrestrial mobile broadband applications. The conference also recognized the need for cost-effective implementation of IMT, particularly in many developing countries and countries with large areas of low population density, and the particular advantages of lower frequency bands for these purposes.


The advantages of the frequency bands below 1 GHz for wide coverage and those above 1 GHz for higher data rates with respect to use of IMT systems are noted in Resolutions 224 (Rev.WRC-12) and 223 (Rev.WRC-12). Recognizing all of this and the use of relevant parts of the spectrum by other radiocommunication services −  many of which involve significant investment in infrastructure or represent significant societal benefit −  and the evolving needs of these services, the conference decided to invite ITU-R to study additional spectrum requirements. ITU-R will conduct this study taking into account:

  • technical and operational characteristics of IMT systems, including the evolution of IMT through advances in technology and spectrally-efficient techniques, and their deployment;

  •  the bands currently identified for IMT, the technical conditions of their use, and the possibility of optimizing the use of these bands with a view to increasing spectrum efficiency;

  •  the evolving needs, including user demand for IMT and other terrestrial mobile broadband applications;

  •  the needs of developing countries;

  • the time-frame in which spectrum would be needed.

The study will examine sharing and compatibility with services that already have allocations in the potential candidate bands and in adjacent bands. Taking all that work into account, ITU-R will also study potential candidate frequency bands, bearing in mind the protection of existing services and the need for harmonization. Administrations are encouraged to submit contributions (during the study period) not only on their assessment of the impact on existing services, but also as a way of participating in the studies. WRC-15 will consider the results of all of these studies and take appropriate actions. − Source: Resolution COM6/8 (WRC-12): Studies on frequency-related matters on International Mobile Telecommunications and other terrestrial mobile broadband applications.
 


The digital dividend

From the outset of the conference, African and Arab countries called for an immediate allocation of spectrum below 790 MHz to meet the growing broadband demands (see Issue No.1 of the WRC-12 Weekly, the staff version). IMT systems are intended to provide telecommunication services on a worldwide scale, and some administrations are planning to use all or part of the band 694−862 MHz for IMT. The frequency band 470−806/862 MHz is allocated to the broadcasting service on a primary basis in Regions 1, 2 and 3 and is used predominantly by this service.


According to the GE-06 Agreement, the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting must end on 17 June 2015, and some countries are planning to make, or are making, part or all of the band 694−862 MHz available for the mobile service. The GE-06 Agreement applies in all Region 1 countries (except Mongolia) and in the Islamic Republic of Iran in Region 3.


Nigeria recalled that the African countries were the majority in Region 1 and that their proposals on agenda item 1.17 of WRC-12 were supported by the Arab countries. Nigeria argued that all ITU studies showed that Africa was the region that was lagging furthest behind when it came to broadband and Internet penetration rates. The extension proposed was therefore intended to ensure better sharing, and not to exclude the broadcasting service, in the band 790−862 MHz, in which Africa was in any case left with only 16 MHz (790−806 MHz). Africa was still waiting for the first digital dividend, while the developed countries in Region 1 were already looking for the second.


Oman added that the point was not to bring the developed part of the world into conflict with the developing world, but to prompt the former to take account of the latter's interests, namely equitable sharing of frequencies below 1 GHz, which were the least costly to use. Oman went on to underline that one of the Union's key objectives was to reduce the digital divide between developing and developed countries and between rural and urban societies. To that end, the Sultanate of Oman had adopted an ambitious broadband plan for, notably, education and health services. But that plan could not be implemented unless the mobile service was extended to 694 MHz.


Egypt submitted a statement entitled “Motivations of getting an extension for mobile spectrum allocation in 700 band (698−790 MHz) during WRC-12 and not later”. The statement underlined that for the band 790−862 MHz, many African countries and developing countries are facing difficulties in introducing mobile broadband applications due to the heavy use of this band by legacy systems, while many African countries have resolved to dedicate the band under study to mobile broadband. “Many developed countries in Regions 2 and 3 and some developing countries are planning to implement mobile broadband in the band 698/790−862 MHz. So, the allocation of the mobile service in this band for Region 1 will enhance the ICT sector in most of the less developed countries”, according to the statement.


After long and tough negotiations, the conference resolved to allocate the frequency band 694−790 MHz in Region 1 to the mobile, except aeronautical mobile, service on a co-primary basis with other services to which this band is allocated on a primary basis and to identify it for IMT. This decision is reflected in Resolution COM5/10 (WRC-12) on the “Use of the frequency band 694−790 MHz by the mobile, except aeronautical mobile, service in Region 1 and related studies”. The new allocation is effective immediately after WRC-15, and its use is subject to agreement to be obtained under No. 9.21 with respect to the aeronautical radionavigation service in countries listed in No. 5.312 of the Radio Regulations. The lower edge of the allocation is subject to refinement at WRC-15, and ITU-R is invited to study the spectrum requirement for the mobile service and for the broadcasting service in this frequency band, in order to determine as early as possible the options for the lower edge. ITU-R will also study the channelling arrangements for the mobile service, adapted to the frequency band below 790 MHz.


ITU-R will study: coexistence between the different channelling arrangements which have been implemented in Region 1 above 790 MHz, as well as the possibility of further harmonization; compatibility between the mobile service and other services currently allocated in the frequency band 694−790 MHz and develop ITU-R Recommendations or Reports; and solutions for accommodating applications ancillary to broadcasting requirements. It will report the results of these studies in time for WRC-15.


WRC-15 will specify the technical and regulatory conditions applicable to the mobile service allocation of the frequency band 694−790 MHz, taking into account the findings of these studies and the needs of countries in Region 1, in particular developing countries.


The Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau will work, in cooperation with the Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau, to bring assistance to developing countries wishing to implement the new mobile allocation in order to help these administrations to determine the modifications of the GE-06 Plan necessary to keep sufficient capacity for broadcasting.


Administrations are invited to participate in these studies and to indicate as quickly as possible, in the process of preparation for WRC-15, the spectrum requirement for the mobile service, the broadcasting service and the other services, in order to determine the options for the frequency band to be allocated to the mobile service, as well as the related channelling arrangements.
 


Broadband for public protection and disaster relief

Data-traffic demand in mobile broadband for public protection and safety applications, including real-time mobile video applications, has grown remarkably − and the trend is poised to continue worldwide. This demand is driving the development of technologies and applications for broadband public protection and disaster relief (PPDR).


Resolution 646 (Rev.WRC-12) was updated to encourage administrations to consider certain identified frequency bands to achieve regionally harmonized PPDR solutions, which offer benefits including economies of scale and interoperability, and which facilitate planning and coordination of spectrum use.
Resolution COM6/11 (WRC-12) calls on ITU-R to study technical and operational issues relating to broadband PPDR and its future development and evolution. ITU-R will develop recommendations, as required, on technical requirements for PPDR services and applications. Administrations are invited to participate in the studies by submitting contributions to ITU-R. WRC-15 will consider the findings of these studies and take appropriate action to review and revise Resolution 646 (Rev.WRC-12). − Source: Resolution COM6/11 (WRC-12): Studies to support broadband public protection and disaster relief.
 


Preventing interference: Countries advised to ascertain the facts and take the necessary actions

A number of delegations applauded the amendment to Article 15 of the Radio Regulations on “Interferences” as a success, with Sudan commenting that “This was a very difficult issue touching on our sovereignty, and we are satisfied with the outcome.” The Syrian Arab Republic expressed its reservation on the modification (the only country to do so).


Provision 15.21 was amended and reads as follows: “If an administration has information of an infringement of the Constitution, the Convention or the Radio Regulations (in particular Article 45 of the Constitution and No. 15.1 of the Radio Regulations) committed by a station under its jurisdiction, the administration shall ascertain the facts and take the necessary actions.”


As we reported in Issue No. 1 of the WRC-12 Weekly, Document 137 was presented by the United Kingdom on behalf of several co-signatories from Europe. The point being made was that citizens of every country worldwide depend on terrestrial and space radiocommunication systems for the provision of reliable telecommunication services, but that in recent years there have been an increasing number of cases of deliberate interference intended to disturb or prevent the reception of signals. The operation of telecommunication satellites have been especially disrupted by persistent interference. The sponsors of the document proposed that a new provision in Article 15 of the Radio Regulations on “Interferences” should explicitly prohibit transmission of signals intended or designed to disturb or block other signals.


How did countries react to the proposal? Sudan initially thought that the Radio Regulations already dealt adequately with harmful interference. Qatar and Lebanon said that they had suffered from deliberate interference. Cuba agreed that the problem was real, but said that the text proposed to be added to Article 15 was very general: it did not mention services, territories or the origin of the harmful transmissions, and would be open to multiple interpretations. In addition, consideration would also have to be given to the cases of transmissions aimed by one country exclusively at another country and that were sources of harmful interference.


Sudan pointed out that developing countries often found it difficult to determine the source of the signals, for lack of the necessary equipment. Also, unauthorized signals were transmitted from some countries with the intention of causing interference. Egypt wondered how States that were unable to determine the source of the interference could be held accountable, given that the perpetrators could act without authorization.


Croatia expressed support for Document 137 in principle, but hoped that the new provision would protect not only satellite systems but also other radiocommunication services, some of which were essential, for example in the area of safety. Furthermore, given the difficulty of proving the deliberate nature of the interference, the proposed text should be broadened to cover all interference, deliberate or not, to radio signals.


Lebanon was in favour of any measure to combat intentional interference. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates agreed that every effort must be made to eliminate deliberate interference, but recognized that the subject was complex, for it raised the question of how to establish the responsibility of the States emitting the interfering signals.


Following that exchange of views, an Ad hoc Group of the Plenary was set up to discuss possible modifications to Article 15 of the Radio Regulations, taking into account the proposals in Document 137 + Addendum 1 and the opinions expressed by Member States.


Presenting the group’s report to the plenary on Friday evening (10 February 2012, the group’s Chairman Bruce Gracie said that the group had discussed possible modifications to No. 15.1 of Section I (Interference from Radio Stations), and No. 15.21 of Section V (Reports of Infringements). After considerable debate, the group had agreed that a revision to the text of No. 15.21 was warranted.


The group then agreed on a text that was presented to the plenary on 10 February, with Chairman Bruce Gracie underlining that the agreement was facilitated by confirmation of two key understandings: first, any transmission which has the intent to cause interference to stations of other administrations is an infringement of the Constitution, Convention or Radio Regulations; and second, any station operating in the territory of an administration is under the authority of that administration, even if the station is not authorized.


The following statement from Cuba was annexed to the Ad hoc Group’s report. “The right of a Member State should be recognized to take all appropriate measures inside its national territory, to protect against any signal incompatible with its sovereign rights or that may appear dangerous to its security or against its cultural patrimony.”


Many other countries had asked to be added to this statement when the plenary closed on Friday night (10 February). The matter was taken up again in plenary on 14 February, finally reaching agreement on the amended provision.

 

Assistance and support to Palestine

The conference passed Resolution PLEN/2 (WRC-12) on “Assistance and support to Palestine” following an agreement brokered by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré, after days of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


The much-applauded Resolution PLEN/2 (WRC-12), approved on 16 February 2012 without any reservation, resolves that assistance to the Palestinian Authority, pursuant to the relevant ITU resolutions and decisions shall be continued, in particular through capacity building, with a view to enabling the Palestinian Authority to obtain and manage the required radio spectrum in order to operate its telecommunication networks and wireless services.


The relevant resolutions cited in the text are: Resolution 125 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010) of the Plenipotentiary Conference on assistance and support to Palestine for rebuilding its telecommunication networks; Resolution 99 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010) of the Plenipotentiary Conference, on the status of Palestine in ITU; and Resolution 18 (Rev. Hyderabad, 2010) of the World Telecommunication Development Conference, on special technical assistance to the Palestinian Authority.


Resolution PLEN/2 (WRC-12) also reaffirms the acceptance of the requirements of the Palestinian Authority under the digital broadcasting and television plan at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference (Geneva, 2006), and Palestine’s right, pursuant to the Appendix 30B Plan, to submit a request for assignments/an allotment intended for exclusive use by Palestine, in accordance with the Interim Agreement and Resolution 99 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010), without prejudging future agreements between the concerned parties.


The resolution instructs the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau (BR) and the Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) to encourage all concerned parties to intensify the bilateral negotiations and facilitate implementing the agreements and relevant resolutions, in order to agree on additional measures required for enhancing and developing wireless telecommunication infrastructures, new technologies and services for the Palestinian Authority.


The Director of BR will continue providing specialized assistance and support, in particular in the field of spectrum management and frequency assignment, to the Palestinian Authority in collaboration with ITU-D, pursuant to the relevant ITU resolutions. Finally, the Director of BR will report to WRC-15 on the progress achieved in implementing this resolution.


Dr Touré commented that the resolution was taken in the true spirit of the ITU Constitution, which included among the purposes of the Union “to promote the extension of the benefits of the new telecommunication technologies to all the world’s inhabitants” and “to promote the use of telecommunication services with the objective of facilitating peaceful relations”. Dr Touré concluded by saying: "I would like to particularly thank our brothers from Israel and Palestine who came to the meeting with a positive spirit and managed to reach an agreement in this arena without going to a vote. This conference will go a long way to contribute to world peace, and I hope that we will continue after the conference to help our brothers and sisters to live in peace and security." Egypt, Palestine, and Israel also made statements in praise of the new resolution, and of the leadership and optimism shown by the Chairman of WRC-12 and the Secretary-General to reach this conclusion.

 


Leap second: Future of the Coordinated Universal Time time-scale

The procedures for maintaining the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) time-scale are described in Recommendation ITU-R TF.460-6, which states that all standard-frequency and time signal emissions should conform as closely as possible to UTC. As the legal basis for time-keeping for most countries in the world, UTC is de facto the time-scale used in most others.


Recommendation ITU-R TF.460-6 describes the procedure for the occasional insertion of leap seconds into UTC to ensure that it does not differ by more than 0.9 seconds from the time determined by the rotation of the Earth (UT1). However, the occasional insertion of leap seconds into UTC may create difficulties for systems and applications that depend on accurate timing.
Some organizations involved with space activities, global navigation satellite systems, metrology, telecommunications, network synchronization and electric power distribution have requested a continuous time-scale. For local time-of-day and for other specialized systems, there is a need for a time-scale reckoned with respect to the rotation of the Earth, such as the mean solar time at the prime meridian, formerly known as GMT. A change in the reference time-scale may have operational and therefore economic consequences.


WRC-15 will consider the feasibility of achieving a continuous reference time-scale, whether by the modification of UTC or some other method, and take appropriate action, taking into account ITU-R studies. ITU-R will conduct the necessary studies on the feasibility of achieving a continuous reference time-scale for dissemination by radiocommunication systems. ITU-R will also study issues related to the possible implementation of a continuous reference time-scale (including technical and operational factors). Administrations will participate in the studies by submitting contributions to ITU-R.

The Secretary-General will bring this resolution to the attention of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the General Conference of Weights and Measures (CGPM), the Consultative Committee for Time and Frequency (CCTF), the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS), the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), the International Union of Radio Science (URSI), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU). − Source: Resolution COM6/20 (WRC-12): Future of the Coordinated Universal Time time-scale.
 


Fixed-satellite service: meeting the needs of Regions 1, 2 and 3

The existing unplanned bands for the fixed-satellite service (FSS) in the 10−15 GHz range are extensively used for many applications, and these applications have driven the demand for this frequency range. For example, the 13.25−13.75 GHz band is allocated to the Earth exploration-satellite service (active) on a primary basis. The remote sensing systems of this service are used in monitoring weather, water and climate change, with the aim of preventing natural disasters. These systems are crucial for the protection of human life and natural resources. It is therefore necessary to ensure that they are protected without any undue constraints to their operations in the 13.25−13.75 GHz band.


Today’s difference in capacity between Regions 2 and 3 and Region 1 is expected to increase with the implementation of Resolution COM6/5 (WRC-12) and Resolution COM6/4. This will restrict satellite operators in the different regions from fully and effectively using the limited frequency resource to cope with the growing demand for spectrum. To address these challenges, studies will be required in order to develop regulatory changes, including additional allocations to the fixed-satellite service.


For Region 1, the conference called for studies (to be conducted in time for WRC-15) of possible bands for a new primary allocation of 250 MHz to the fixed-satellite service within the bands 10−17 GHz in both Earth-to-space and space-to-Earth directions. In particular, the studies will focus on the frequency range that is contiguous (or near contiguous) to the existing fixed-satellite service allocations. ITU-R is also to conduct studies, as a matter of urgency, on the technical, operational and regulatory aspects in time for WRC-15.


To resolve the shortage of spectrum in the Earth-to-space direction in Regions 2 and 3 and meet the rapidly growing demand, the conference also called for studies (to be conducted in time for WRC-15) of possible bands for a new primary allocation of 250 MHz to the fixed-satellite service in the Earth-to-space direction in Region 2 and of 300 MHz in Region 3 within the bands 13−17 GHz. Just like in Region 1, the studies will focus on the frequency range that is contiguous (or near contiguous) to the existing fixed-satellite service allocations.
Of course, ITU-R will take into account sharing and compatibility studies and how the existing primary services in the band(s) being studied should be protected. Administrations are to participate actively in these studies by submitting contributions to ITU-R. WRC-15 will consider the results of all these studies and take appropriate action. − Source: Resolution COM6/4 (WRC-12): Additional primary allocations to the fixed-satellite service in frequency bands between 10 and 17 GHz in Region 1 and Resolution COM6/5 (WRC-12): Additional primary allocations to the fixed-satellite service in the Earth-to-space direction in frequency bands between 13−17 GHz in Region 2 and Region 3.

 

 

Modernizing the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has started to modernize the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and is developing a strategy for e-navigation. The automatic identification system (AIS) could enhance VHF maritime safety communications. Also, advanced maritime MF/HF/VHF data systems and satellite communication systems could deliver maritime safety information (MSI) and other GMDSS communications.
WRC-12 has reviewed the regulatory provisions and spectrum allocations for use by maritime safety systems for ships and ports, to improve efficiency and introduce bands for new digital technology.


ITU-R will now conduct studies to determine spectrum requirements to support GMDSS modernization and the implementation of e-navigation, and to propose possible regulatory actions. The conference has invited all members of the Radiocommunication Sector, IMO, the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to contribute to these studies.


The conference has invited WRC-18 to consider possible regulatory actions to support GMDSS modernization and e-navigation. − Source: Resolution COM6/9 (WRC-12): Consideration of regulatory provisions for modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System and studies related to e-navigation.

 


Ship and port operations: too much chatter?

On-board communication stations are used for internal communications on board a ship, or for communication between a ship and its lifeboats, or among a group of vessels being towed or pushed, as well as for line handling and mooring instructions. However, only six frequencies in the band 450−470 MHz are identified for on-board communication stations − and the band is also identified for use by administrations wishing to implement IMT.


Existing channels on board many ships are congested to the extent that ship and port operations are affected by cross-transmissions. To improve this situation, ITU-R is tasked to conduct studies to determine the spectrum requirements and potential frequency bands for on-board communication stations, taking into account the protection of services to which the frequency band is currently allocated. ITU-R members are invited to contribute to these studies, the results of which should be available in time for WRC-15. This conference will consider whether additional UHF channels are needed for on-board communication stations within the bands already allocated to the maritime mobile service. − Source: Resolution COM6/3 (WRC-12): Consideration of improvement and expansion of on-board communication stations in the maritime mobile service in the UHF bands.

 


Earth stations on board vessels

Earth stations on board vessel applications can provide high-bandwidth connectivity in areas where no alternative exists but have the potential to cause unacceptable interference to terrestrial services operating in the same bands.
Since WRC-03 introduced provisions for the use of earth stations on board vessels in certain bands allocated to the fixed-satellite service (FSS), the technology has advanced considerably and the limitations contained in Resolution 902 (WRC-03) need to be reviewed.


Recognizing that there are several other services than FSS to which the frequency bands 5 925−6 425 MHz and 14−14.5 GHz are allocated and that these other services need to be protected, the conference has given ITU-R new tasks. ITU-R will review the provisions for earth stations on board vessels which operate in the FSS uplink bands 5 925−6 425 MHz and 14−14.5 GHz and consider possible modifications to Resolution 902 (WRC-03) in order to reflect current technologies and technical characteristics that are being used or planned to be used by these vessels. These studies should be completed in time for WRC-15. − Source: Resolution COM6/14 (WRC-12): Provisions relating to earth stations located on board vessels which operate in fixed-satellite service networks in the uplink bands 5 925−6 425 MHz and 14−14.5 GHz.

 

 

Enhanced maritime communications

The automatic identification system (AIS) is a proven maritime system for the exchange of ship data.  Additional AIS channels may be required for radiocommunications such as area warnings and meteorological data. To ensure the safe operation of international shipping and commerce, additional spectrum for AIS applications should be given priority in the maritime mobile and mobile-satellite services.


ITU-R will conduct studies on the basis of which WRC-15 will consider modifications to the Radio Regulations, including possible spectrum allocations, to enable new AIS terrestrial and satellite applications to improve maritime communications, while ensuring that these applications will not degrade current AIS operations and other services. WRC-15 will also consider additional or new applications for maritime radiocommunication within existing maritime mobile and mobile-satellite service allocations, and if necessary take appropriate regulatory measures.


All members of the Radiocommunication Sector and IMO, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Radio Maritime Committee (CIRM) are invited to contribute to these studies. − Source: Resolution COM6/21 (WRC-12): Consideration of regulatory provisions and spectrum allocations for enhanced Automatic Identification System technology applications and for enhanced maritime radiocommunication.
 


New digital technology for the maritime mobile service

the shipping industry has shown a big interest in using high-frequency bands. Appendix 17 to the Radio Regulations outlines the frequencies and channelling arrangements in the high-frequency bands for the maritime mobile service. During WRC-03, changes were made to Appendix 17 to allow for the use of digital technology on a no protection, non-interference basis in certain bands. More than 4500 ships are known to use digital systems, which automatically route messages to their destination, producing a million messages a month.
Agenda item 1.9 called upon the conference to revise frequencies and channelling arrangements of Appendix 17, in accordance with Resolution 351 (Rev.WRC-07), which had sought to improve efficiency through the use of new digital technology by the maritime mobile service.


Revised Appendix 17 (Rev. WRC-12) on “Frequencies and channelling arrangements in the high-frequency bands for the maritime mobile service” has two annexes. Annex 1 contains the existing frequency and channelling arrangements in force until 31 December 2016. Annex 2 contains the future frequency and channelling arrangements, as revised by WRC-12, which will enter into force on 1 January 2017.


The conference also added several special rules to Article 52 on the use of frequencies for data transmissions. For example, provision No. 52.B109 says that frequencies assigned to coast stations for data transmissions shall be indicated in the List of Coast Stations and Special Service Stations (List IV). This list must also indicate any other useful information concerning the service performed by each coast station. The conference abrogated Resolution 351 (Rev.WRC-07), which had served its purpose.

 

 

Amateur service

Amateur stations are used regularly for emergency radiocommunications in the event of hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and other disaster situations. Communications in the HF bands allocated to the amateur service play a major role in supporting relief operations in areas where the telecommunication infrastructure is weak or has collapsed.


Radiocommunication in the HF bands is dependent on ionospheric propagation factors, with the result that frequencies in different bands have to be used to maintain communication. In all cases, the maximum usable frequency (MUF) should not be excessively far from the next band allocated to the amateur service, so as to permit the setting up of communications in this band using typical amateur service antennas and power levels.


In the current allocations to the amateur service in the HF bands, there is a significant jump, which causes many problems in terms of communication when the MUF falls below 7 MHz and the lowest usable frequency (LUF) is above 4 MHz. Amateur stations need to be able to access spectrum at around 5 MHz in order to fulfil their communication functions.


The conference noted that allocating an appropriate amount of spectrum, not necessarily contiguous, to the amateur service at around 5 300 kHz would be adequate to provide communications in disaster situations and during relief operations. It has tasked ITU-R to study spectrum requirements for a secondary allocation to the amateur service within the frequency band 5 250−5 450 kHz. ITU-R will also conduct sharing studies on the impact to other services now allocated in this band and in the adjacent bands. These studies should be completed in time for WRC-15. − Source: Resolution COM6/12 (WRC-12): Possible allocation to the amateur service on a secondary basis at around 5 300 kHz.

 


Nano-and picosatellites in the limelight

Nano- and picosatellites, commonly described as ranging in mass from 0.1 to 10 kg and measuring less than 0.5 m in any linear dimension, have physical characteristics that differ from those of larger satellites. Typically, nano- and picosatellites are developed in 1-2 years and are low cost, often using off-the-shelf components. They may have limited orbit control capabilities and therefore have unique orbital characteristics. The operational lifetime of these satellites ranges from several weeks up to less than five years, depending on their mission.


The many uses of nano- and picosatellites include remote sensing, space weather research, upper atmosphere research, astronomy, communications, technology demonstration and education, as well as commercial applications, and these satellites therefore may operate under various radiocommunication services.


Today, many nano- and picosatellites use spectrum allocated to the amateur satellite service and the MetSat service in the frequency range 30−3 000 MHz although their missions are potentially inconsistent with these services.


The conference considered that the existing provisions of the Radio Regulations for coordination and notification of satellites under Articles 9 and 11 may need to be adapted to take account of the nature of these satellites. It has therefore invited WRC-18 to consider whether modifications to the regulatory procedures for notifying satellite networks are needed to facilitate the deployment and operation of nano- and picosatellites, and to take the appropriate actions.


Meanwhile, ITU-R will examine the procedures for notifying space networks and consider possible modifications to enable the deployment and operation of nano- and picosatellites. Administrations and Sector Members are invited to participate actively in the studies by submitting contributions to ITU-R. − Source: Resolution COM6/10 (WRC-12): Regulatory aspects for nano- and picosatellites.
 


Fixed-satellite service and maritime-mobile satellite service in the 7−8 GHz range

The frequency bands 7 250−7 750 MHz (space-to-Earth) and 7 900−8 400 MHz (Earth-to-space) are allocated worldwide to the fixed-satellite service (FSS). These bands, or parts thereof, are also allocated worldwide to other services such as the fixed and mobile services, the meteorological-satellite service and the Earth exploration-satellite service (space-to-Earth).


The bands 7 250−7 375 MHz (space-to-Earth) and 7 900−8 025 MHz (Earth-to-space) are also allocated to the mobile-satellite service on a primary basis, subject to agreement obtained under No. 9.21 through No. 5.461. Some administrations have reported a shortfall of spectrum available for their current and future applications in these bands. The additional bandwidth requirements for data transmission on these next-generation satellites are estimated to be around a maximum of 100 MHz.


The adjacent bands 7 150−7 250 MHz and 8 400−8 500 MHz are currently allocated to the fixed and mobile services as well as to the space research service. However, the ubiquitous deployment of very small aperture terminal (VSAT)-like FSS earth stations is generally not compatible with the protection of the space research service. In view of this, and recognizing that the spectrum requirements considered under the maritime mobile-satellite service address operation beyond territorial waters, the conference has called for studies.


In particular, ITU-R will conduct technical and regulatory studies on the possible new allocations to the FSS in the frequency bands 7 150−7 250 MHz (space-to-Earth) and 8 400−8 500 MHz (Earth-to-space) in order to ensure compatibility with existing services, with a view to extending the current worldwide allocation to the FSS in the bands 7 250−7 750 MHz (space-to-Earth) and 7 900−8 400 MHz (Earth-to-space). It will conduct the appropriate regulatory studies to ensure that any new FSS allocation is limited to FSS systems operated from a fixed known location in order to enable compatibility with systems of other services. It will also conduct technical and regulatory studies on the possibility of allocating the bands 7 375−7 750 MHz (space-to-Earth) and 8 025−8 400 MHz (Earth-to-space), or parts thereof, to the maritime-mobile satellite service, while ensuring compatibility with existing services. Administrations are invited to participate actively in these studies, which should be completed in time for WRC-15. − Source: Resolution COM6/15 (WRC-12): Allocation to the fixed-satellite service and the maritime-mobile satellite service in the 7−8 GHz range.

 


Mobile-satellite service

ITU-R studies indicate that by the year 2020 there will be a shortfall of spectrum available for the satellite component of international mobile telecommunications (IMT) of between 19 MHz and 90 MHz in the Earth-to-space direction and 144 MHz and 257 MHz in the space-to-Earth direction. Mobile-satellite service (MSS) systems which are not part of the satellite component of IMT may also require additional spectrum. ITU-R studies indicate a shortfall of spectrum for MSS broadband applications of between 240 MHz and 335 MHz by the year 2020 in both the space-to-Earth and Earth-to-space directions.


No allocations were made at WRC-12 for the mobile-satellite service in the range 4−16 GHz. So the shortfall of spectrum for satellite IMT and broadband applications still needs to be addressed.


ITU-R will conduct sharing and compatibility studies towards additional allocations to the mobile-satellite service in the Earth-to-space and space-to-Earth directions, within portions of the bands between 22 GHz and 26 GHz, while ensuring protection of existing services within these bands as well as taking into account No. 5.340 and No. 5.149. Administrations will participate in these studies by submitting contributions to ITU-R. These studies are to be completed in time for WRC-15. − Source: Resolution COM6/16 (WRC-12): Additional primary allocations to the mobile-satellite service within the bands from 22 GHz to 26 GHz.

 

 

Earth exploration-satellite services

There is limited bandwidth available in the 2 025−2 110 MHz and 2 200−2 290 MHz bands for Earth exploration-satellite service satellite tracking, telemetry and control because hundreds of satellites use these bands. The congestion in these bands increases the probability of harmful interference, which could jeopardize critical environmental data available only through Earth exploration-satellite service satellite resources.


A way forward would be an allocation in the 7−8 GHz range for the Earth exploration-satellite service (Earth-to-space). A preliminary sharing analysis indicates that the frequency range 7 145−7 235 MHz may present a favourable sharing scenario with the existing services. An Earth exploration-satellite service (Earth-to-space) allocation in the 7-8 GHz range would allow for uplinks and downlinks on the same transponder, increasing efficiency and reducing satellite complexity.


ITU-R will study spectrum requirements in the 7−8 GHz range for Earth exploration-satellite service (Earth-to-space) telecommand operations in order to complement telemetry operations of Earth exploration-satellite service (space-to-Earth) in the 8 025−8 400 MHz band. It will also conduct compatibility studies between Earth exploration-satellite service (Earth-to-space) systems and existing services, with priority to the band 7 145−7 235 MHz, and then within other portions of the 7−8 GHz range only if the band 7 145−7 235 MHz is found not to be suitable.


These studies should be completed in time for WRC-15. Administrations are invited to participate actively in the studies by submitting contributions to ITU-R. − Source: Resolution COM6/17 (WRC-12): Allocation for the Earth exploration-satellite service (Earth-to-space) in the 7−8 GHz range.


Radar images with increased resolution are needed for global environmental monitoring. This can only be achieved with greater transmission bandwidth, which in turn requires additional frequency spectrum around the existing allocation to the Earth exploration-satellite service (active).


The aeronautical radionavigation service operating in the frequency band 9 000−9 200 MHz and the maritime radionavigation service operating in the frequency band 9 200−9 500 MHz are used by safety service systems, in accordance with Nos. 1.59 and 4.10. It is important to ensure protection of existing primary services, including fixed and mobile services, having allocations in the frequency bands 8 700-9 300 MHz and 9 900−10 500 MHz.
ITU-R will conduct compatibility studies addressing:

  • Earth exploration-satellite service (active) and existing services in the frequency bands 8 700-9 300 MHz and 9 900−10 500 MHz in order to ensure protection of existing services, taking into account the constraints under No. 5.476A;

  • unwanted emissions from stations operating in the Earth exploration-satellite service (active) within the frequency band 8 700−9 300 MHz into stations of the space research service operating in the frequency band 8 400−8 500 MHz;

  • unwanted emissions from stations operating in the Earth exploration-satellite service (active) within the frequency band 9 900−10 500 MHz into stations of the radio astronomy service, space research service (passive) and Earth exploration-satellite service (passive) operating in the frequency band 10.6−10.7 GHz.


On the basis of the results of these studies, WRC-15 will consider the possible extension of the current worldwide allocation to the Earth exploration-satellite service (active). − Source: Resolution COM6/18 (WRC-12): Possible extension of the current worldwide allocation to the Earth exploration-satellite (active) service in the frequency band 9 300−9 900 MHz by up to 600 MHz within the frequency bands 8 700−9 300 MHz and/or 9 900−10 500 MHz.
 


Space research service

Space vehicles, whether manned or robotic, operating in the vicinity or approaching the International Space Station (ISS) or other orbiting manned space vehicles, need to communicate over distances greater than 5 km to ensure safe operations and docking manoeuvres. The band 410−420 MHz is allocated to the fixed, mobile (except aeronautical mobile) and space research (space-to-space) services on a primary basis subject to No. 5.268. But this provision restricts the space research service (space-to-space) to operations within 5 km of an orbiting manned space vehicle.


In order to examine the possibility for increasing the 5 km distance limitation, the conference tasked ITU-R to conduct sharing studies between space research service (space-to-space) systems communicating in proximity with orbiting manned space vehicles and systems operating in the fixed and mobile (except aeronautical mobile) services in the band 410−420 MHz in time for WRC-15. Administrations will participate actively in the studies by submitting contributions to ITUR. − Source: Resolution COM6/19 (WRC-12): Use of the band 410−420 MHz by the space research service (space-to-space).

 


Aviation with future generation aircraft

Wireless Avionics Intra-Communications (WAIC) systems are restricted to radiocommunications between two or more points integrated into or installed on a single aircraft. WAIC systems do not include communications between an aircraft and the ground, another aircraft or a satellite.


Aircraft equipped with WAIC systems will be operated globally and will cross national borders. WAIC systems are being developed to operate safely and efficiently in one or more non-contiguous radio-frequency bands, particularly those now allocated to the aeronautical mobile service and aeronautical radionavigation service.


ITU-R will conduct, in time for WRC-15, the necessary studies to determine the spectrum requirements needed to support WAIC systems. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is invited to contribute to these studies. − Source: Resolution COM6/22 (WRC-12): Consideration of regulatory actions, including allocations, to support Wireless Avionics Intra-Communications.

 


Aviation and meteorological information via the fixed-satellite service

Many remote and rural areas still lack a terrestrial communication infrastructure that meets the evolving requirements of modern civil aviation. The cost of providing and maintaining such an infrastructure could be expensive, particularly in remote regions.


Where an adequate terrestrial communication infrastructure is not available, fixed-satellite service (FSS) earth stations are the only viable option to satisfy the overall communications infrastructure requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and to ensure distribution of meteorological information under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).


The use of FSS earth stations deployed in some countries in Region 1 for aeronautical communications has the potential to enhance communications between air traffic control centres as well as with remote aeronautical stations.
ITU-R will study possible technical and regulatory measures in some countries in Region 1 to support the existing and future FSS earth stations in the 3 400−4 200 MHz band used for satellite communications related to the safe operation of aircraft and reliable distribution of meteorological information. All members of the Radiocommunication Sector, ICAO and WMO are invited to contribute to these studies. − Source: Resolution COM6/24 (WRC-12): Consideration of technical and regulatory actions in order to support existing and future operation of fixed-satellite service earth stations within the band 3 400-4 200 MHz, as an aid to the safe operation of aircraft and reliable distribution of meteorological information in some countries in Region 1.
 


Unmanned aircraft systems

Many applications of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) exist that require access to non-segregated airspace. Current applications include environmental monitoring, border patrolling, and fire-fighting. Unmanned aircraft need to operate seamlessly with manned aircraft in non-segregated airspace and, to the extent practicable, use globally harmonized spectrum.


The safe flight operation of unmanned aircraft systems needs reliable communication links and associated spectrum, especially for the remote pilot to command and control the flight and to relay air traffic control communications, also referred to as control and non-payload communications (CNPC).


Having spectrum allocated, and ensuring the appropriate level of protection, for the systems that will operate in those bands were among the challenges discussed by the conference under agenda item 1.3. The conference recognized that the operation of unmanned aircraft systems in non-segregated airspace has to meet standards and recommended practices enshrined in the Convention on International Civil Aviation.  It also recognized that studies are needed to provide a basis for considering regulatory, technical and operational conditions, in order to use fixed-satellite service (FSS) links for the CNPC link between geostationary satellites and unmanned aircraft systems in non-segregated airspaces in a compatible manner with incumbent services in the FSS frequency bands.


For unmanned aircraft to be allowed access to airspace where manned aircraft operate, the unmanned aircraft will have to demonstrate that they can operate in that airspace and interact, where necessary with air traffic control, in a manner that is comparable to that of manned aircraft.  
 
ITU-R has been tasked to conduct the necessary studies in time for WRC‑15, including sharing and compatibility studies with services already having allocations in those bands. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), administrations and other organizations concerned are invited to participate in these studies.


Resolution COM6/13 (WRC‑12) calls on WRC-15 “to consider the use of frequency bands allocated to the fixed-satellite service not subject to Appendices 30, 30A and 30B for the control and non-payload communications of unmanned aircraft systems in non-segregated airspaces”.  The Secretary-General will bring this resolution to the attention of ICAO.

 

 

Automotive radars to improve road safety

The use of information and communication technologies within intelligent transport systems such as automotive short-range high-resolution radars can improve road safety, although such applications have not been defined as a safety service. ITU-R has been studying short-range vehicular radars for some time. An allocation of spectrum that is compatible worlwide would be beneficial in terms of efficient use of spectrum and economies of scale and would give the automotive industry as well as the components industry the confidence to make greater investment in short-range radar technology. The 77-81 GHz frequency band seems to be the most suitable band for automotive radars as it is already designated for short-range high-resolution radars in many countries around the world.


ITU-R will conduct the appropriate technical, operational and regulatory studies to enable WRC-15 to consider a primary allocation to the radiolocation service in the 77.5-78 GHz frequency band.  − Source: Resolution COM6/23 (WRC-12): Allocation of the band 77.5−78 GHz to the radiolocation service to support automotive short-range high-resolution radar operations.
 


Enhancing the international regulatory framework

Fixed and mobile convergence (terrestrial)

In the study period leading up to WRC-12, studies were undertaken to address fixed and mobile convergence in response to agenda item 1.2, which had called on the conference to take appropriate action with a view to enhancing the international regulatory framework. One proposal was to revise the definitions of “fixed service”, “fixed station” and “mobile station” in Article 1 of the Radio Regulations. Such a review should aim to support the implementation of efficient spectrum management practices and spectrum use.


The conference agreed that regulatory procedures should be continually assessed in order to meet the demands of administrations, and approved Resolution PLEN/1 (WRC-12) on “Studies towards review of the definitions of fixed service, fixed station and mobile station”. Along with a review of those definitions, the resolution calls for a study on the potential impact of possible changes to the definitions on regulatory procedures in the Radio Regulations (coordination, notification and recording) and on current frequency assignments and other services. ITU-R will conduct the necessary studies in time for consideration by WRC-15. Administrations are invited to participate actively in these studies.

 

Converging terrestrial services: how to manage interference?

Technological, market and regulatory developments are resulting in significant changes to the radiocommunication environment, especially in bands below 6 GHz. These changes, and in particular the convergence of services, will make it increasingly difficult to classify certain radio stations under existing radiocommunication services.


ITU-R studies to enhance the international spectrum management framework have so far been carried out within the traditional scope of radiocommunication services and spectrum allocation only. Administrations have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, approaches to spectrum management on a national basis that are not based on this traditional framework, with a view to improving flexibility and to catering for the changing radiocommunication environment. In order to obtain the required degree of flexibility at national level while not causing harmful interference at international level, these administrations may use No. 4.4 of the Radio Regulations.


The conference recommended that ITU-R should study all aspects of interference management resulting from the impact of technical convergence on the radio regulatory environment, involving stations that may operate under more than one terrestrial radiocommunication service, particularly cross-border interference cases. Administrations are invited to participate actively in the studies by submitting contributions to ITU-R under Question ITU-R 224/1. − Source: Recommendation COM6/2 (WRC-12): Interference management for stations that may operate under more than one terrestrial radiocommunication service.

 

Principles for the allocation of frequency bands

Administrations want to take advantage of technological developments to increase spectrum efficiency and facilitate spectrum access, and this is a fair goal so long as the needs of developing countries are taken into account.
Recommendation 34 (Rev. WRC-12) on the “Principles for the allocation of frequency bands” was updated to invite ITU-R to undertake the studies necessary to determine the impact on existing services of those agenda items of future world radiocommunication conferences which involve broadening the scope of existing service allocations.


Administrations are invited to participate actively in these studies, providing their technical and operational developments, forecasts and usages. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other international organizations concerned should also participate.

 

 

Deployment and use of cognitive radio systems

A cognitive radio system (CRS) is defined as a radio system employing technology that allows the system to obtain knowledge of its operational and geographical environment, established policies and its internal state; to dynamically and autonomously adjust its operational parameters and protocols according to its obtained knowledge in order to achieve predefined objectives; and to learn from the results obtained (Report ITU-R SM.2152).


Under agenda item 1.19, the conference considered regulatory measures in order to enable the introduction of software-defined radio and cognitive radio systems. As reported in an earlier issue of the WRC-12 Weekly, the conference decided that no change was needed to the Radio Regulations with regard to software-defined radio.


In the case of cognitive radio systems, the conference approved Recommendation COM6/1 (WRC-12) recognizing that there are plans to deploy these systems in some radiocommunication services. This new recommendation recognizes too that any radio system implementing CRS technology needs to operate in accordance with the provisions of the Radio Regulations. It underlines that the use of cognitive radio systems does not exempt administrations from their obligations with regard to the protection of stations of other administrations operating in accordance with the Radio Regulations. It says that cognitive radio systems are expected to provide flexibility and improved efficiency to overall spectrum use. It recommends that administrations should participate actively in the ITU-R studies being conducted under Resolution ITU-R 58.

 

 

Broadcasting-satellite service

Under agenda item 1.13, the conference had to decide on the spectrum usage of the 21.4−22 GHz band for the broadcasting-satellite service (BSS) and the associated feeder-link bands in Regions 1 and 3. Flexible use of this frequency band is considered critical to ensuring that satellite systems can be implemented. The conference passed several resolutions on BSS.


One is Resolution COM5/7 (WRC-12) on “Additional regulatory measures for broadcasting-satellite networks in the band 21.4−22 GHz in Regions 1 and 3 for the enhancement of equitable access to this band”. It says that a priori planning for BSS networks in the band 21.4−22 GHz in Regions 1 and 3 is not necessary. In fact, such planning should be avoided as it freezes access based on technological assumptions at the time of planning and prevents flexible use when real world demand and technical developments have to be taken into account.


Since its allocation in 1992, the use of the band 21.4−22 GHz was subject to interim arrangements. WRC-12 has established definitive arrangements for the use of this frequency band. It did so recognizing that the first-come first-served concept can restrict – and sometimes prevent – access to, and use of, certain frequency bands and orbital positions. The conference recognized that the number of filings made by some administrations in this band is huge. These filings may not be realistic and may be difficult to implement within the regulatory time-limit under Article 11 of the Radio Regulations.


WRC-12 established a special procedure (including technical parameters and criteria) to be applied, as of 18 February 2012, to BSS systems in the 21.4−22 GHz frequency band in Regions 1 and 3. This procedure is outlined in the Attachment to Resolution COM5/7 (WRC-12). Countries having frequency assignments for BSS in this band need to take all practical measures to facilitate the use of new space systems by other countries or groups of countries.


In another new resolution, the conference observed that the number of filings (291 coordination requests received by the Radiocommunication Bureau as at December 2011) is limiting the possibility of successful coordination of BSS systems already submitted or planned to be submitted by other administrations. Resolution COM5/9 (WRC-12) on the “Additional regulatory provisions for broadcasting-satellite service networks in the band 21.4−22 GHz in Regions 1 and 3 for the enhancement of equitable access to this band” offers a way forward. It calls on administrations to comply with Article 44 of the Constitution: they should review their submissions in the band 21.4−22 GHz submitted before 18 February 2012, with a view to reducing the number of their submissions to the absolute minimum necessary; and they should indicate to the Bureau, before 30 June 2012, the networks which are no longer required to be considered and processed by the Bureau and administrations under Articles 9 and 11.


In addition, Resolution COM5/9 (WRC-12) urges administrations to make the utmost efforts to accommodate submissions received from other administrations with few filings, especially covering their own territories. For submissions received before 18 February 2012 but not yet processed by the Bureau, the notifying administration may modify, without any change in their initial date of receipt, the characteristics of the submissions and supply new values within the ranges specified in Annex 1 to the Attachment to Resolution COM5/7 (WRC-12) or Report ITU-R BO.2071.


Where submissions received before 18 February 2012 have been processed by the Bureau, the notifying administration may similarly make modifications provided that they do not cause more interference than the current submitted parameters. The ITU Council is invited to consider modifying Decision 482 (modified in 2008) to exempt such submissions from cost-recovery charges.

The due diligence process

A due diligence process was first adopted by WRC-97 with a view to providing early information on the industrial project behind a satellite network submitted to ITU. Providing this due diligence information process was a prerequisite to qualifying for a two-year extension of the regulatory period to bring into use a satellite network in non-planned bands. WRC-03 removed the two-year extension and set the regulatory period for bringing into use at seven years.


Data concerning the manufacturer, launch service provider and launch date of a satellite will be more accurate if submitted after the launch of the satellite. To this end, the conference passed Resolution COM5/6 (WRC-12) on the “Long-term access to and development in the band 21.4−22 GHz in Regions 1 and 3”.


Resolution COM5/6 (WRC-12) applies to geostationary-satellite orbit (GSO) networks in the BSS in the 21.4−22 GHz band. Where confirmation of the date of bringing into use was not received by the Bureau before 18 February 2012 or where networks were suspended, Annex 1 to Resolution COM5/6 (WRC-12) applies. Where confirmation was received by the Bureau before 18 February 2012, paragraphs 5 to 8 of Annex 1 and Annex 3 apply. Annex 2 lists the information to be submitted.

Power flux-density limits

The conference considered that the use of power flux-density (pfd) thresholds to identify coordination requirements will encourage use of more homogeneous technical parameters and support efficient spectrum usage. To this end, it passed Resolution COM5/8 (WRC-12) on the “Application of pfd masks to coordination under No. 9.7 for broadcasting-satellite service networks in the band 21.4−22 GHz in Regions 1 and 3”. For networks received before 18 February 2012, the Bureau will check for compliance with the coordination requirements revised by WRC-12.


Power flux-density limits for transmitting stations in the 21.4−22 GHz band are the subject of Resolution COM5/4 (WRC-12). The band 21.4−22 GHz is allocated on a primary basis to the broadcasting-satellite service in Regions 1 and 3 and to the fixed and mobile services in all three ITU Regions.


As of 18 February 2012, transmitting stations in the fixed and mobile services in all three Regions are subject to power flux-density limits, specified in No. 5.D113 and transmitting space stations in the broadcasting-satellite service (also in all three Regions) are subject to pfd limits, specified in No. 21.16.


Frequency assignments of stations in the fixed and mobile services recorded in the Master International Frequency Register (MIFR) or notified under the provisions of Article 11 before 18 February 2012 shall comply with the limit specified in No. 5.D113 by 31 December 2015, or the first day of the next world radiocommunication conference, whichever is earlier.


Frequency assignments to space stations in the broadcasting-satellite service in Regions 1 and 3 – either recorded in the MIFR under the provisions of Article 11 before 18 February 2012, or coordinated under the provisions of Article 9 before 18 February 2012, or for which a complete notice under No. 9.30 was received by the Bureau before 18 February 2012 – must comply with the limits specified in Table 21-4 of Article 21of the Radio Regulations as of 18 February 2012.


Ensuring flexibility

The conference updated Resolution 526 (Rev.WRC-12) on “Future adoption of procedures to ensure flexibility in the use of the frequency band allocated to the broadcasting-satellite service for wide RF-band high-definition television (HDTV) and to the associated feeder links” and abrogated Resolution 551 (WRC-07) on the “Use of the band 21.4−22 GHz for broadcasting-satellite service and associated feeder-link bands in Regions 1 and 3”.


As amended, Resolution 526 (Rev.WRC-12) invites ITU-R to study the development of future regulatory provisions for BSS (HDTV) to ensure flexibility in the use of the band 17.3−17.8 GHz in Region 2, having regard to the interests of all countries and the state of technical development of this new service. The Secretary-General will bring this amended resolution to the attention of the Council with a view to placing an appropriate item on the agenda of a future world radiocommunication conference.
 
 

Assisting developing countries to use satellite technology

Use of satellite orbital positions and associated frequency spectrum to deliver international public telecommunication services in developing countries is the subject of new Resolution COM5/11 (WRC-12). Governments and international and regional intergovernmental organizations are fostering innovation, affordability and broader availability of satellite services through ITU registration and deployment of their own satellite systems. But there is still a need to assist developing countries in using satellite telecommunications to enable sustainable and affordable access to information and telecommunication services.


Broadband satellite technologies contribute to reducing the digital (broadband) divide through the provision of telecommunication services, and the expansion of broadband satellite services is generating growth in the developing countries through e-applications, such as e-health, e-learning, e-government, teleworking and residential and community Internet access, which can be used as a rapid and efficient tool for achieving each country’s ICT policy objectives.


Resolution COM5/11 (WRC-12) calls on ITU-R to undertake studies to determine whether it might be necessary to apply additional regulatory measures to enhance the availability of public international telecommunication services delivered through satellite technology.


Programme 1 of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) on information and communication infrastructure and technology development provides assistance to developing countries in the area of spectrum management and in the efficient and cost-effective development of rural, national and international broadband telecommunication networks, including by satellite.
The Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau will ensure that ITU-R collaborates with ITU-D in the implementation of this resolution. Meanwhile, the Director of BDT will organize workshops, seminars and training courses that specifically address sustainable and affordable access to satellite telecommunications, including broadband. ITU-D and ITU-R study groups will assist developing countries in building capacities in the development and use of satellite telecommunications, via activities initiated by the Director of BDT.


Member States and Sector Members are invited to contribute to the implementation of this resolution. The Secretary-General will bring this resolution to the attention of the International Telecommunication Satellite Organization (ITSO) and the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO).
 


High-altitude platform stations

Systems based on new technologies using high-altitude platform stations (HAPS) could be used to provide high-capacity services to urban and rural areas, among other applications. The Radio Regulations provide for the deployment of HAPS in specific bands, including as base stations to serve IMT networks.


Under agenda item 1.20, the conference considered the results of ITU‑R studies on spectrum identification for gateway links for HAPS in the range 5 850−7 075 MHz as called for in Resolution 734 (Rev.WRC-07). The conference responded with a new footnote and Resolution COM5/3 (WRC-12) on the “Use of the bands 6 440−6 520 MHz and 6 560−6 640 MHz by gateway links for high-altitude platform stations in the fixed service”.


Through new footnote 5.A120, WRC-12 decided to permit the use of HAPS gateway links in the fixed service in the bands 6 440−6 520 MHz and 6 560−6 640 MHz in a limited number of countries (Australia, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Nigeria). Existing services must not be constrained in future development by HAPS gateway links. Also, an administration intending to use the HAPS gateway links in these bands requires explicit agreement with other administrations whose territories are located within 1000 kilometres from the border of that administration's country.


The resolution prescribes the antenna beam patterns for both the HAPS platform and the HAPS gateway station. It also sets the conditions for protecting the fixed-satellite service (Earth-to-space), the fixed wireless systems in other administrations, and  Earth exploration-satellite service (passive) operations over oceans.


Administrations planning to implement HAPS gateway links must submit all mandatory parameters to the Radiocommunication Bureau to be examined for compliance with this resolution. They must also notify the Bureau that explicit agreement has been obtained in line with No. 5.A120.


Administrations are invited to consult with the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau to determine the data elements of HAPS gateway stations necessary for notification and examination of frequency assignments in accordance with the provisions of Article 11 and Appendix 4.


The conference abrogated Resolution 734 (Rev.WRC-07), which had served its purpose.

 


Electronic submission of advance publication of information on satellite networks and systems

The volume of advance publication information (API) on satellite networks or systems subject to the coordination procedure under Section II of Article 9 of the Radio Regulations has been steadily increasing in recent years. The Radiocommunication Bureau has also observed that many of the APIs are not followed by a coordination request within the period of 24 months prescribed under No. 9.5D.


Greater efforts are needed to update the relevant databases by deleting obsolete API. The conference considered that a paperless electronic approach for the submission of APIs on satellite networks would make API information readily accessible to all, and would limit the workload for administrations and the Bureau in the processing of API for satellite networks or systems subject to coordination.


The Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau is instructed to implement a secure paperless electronic approach for the electronic submission and publication of API. Once that is done, administrations are to use that system to submit API electronically. − Source: Resolution COM5/2 (WRC-12): Electronic submission and publication of advance publication information.
 

 


What did WRC-12 cost and what are the financial implications of its decisions?

The budget for WRC-12 as approved by the Council at its 2011 session was CHF 3 000 000, plus documentation costs of CHF 2 301 000. As at 10 February, the total estimated cost was CHF 5 069 000, including documentation. The projected savings of CHF 232 000 are anticipated to be derived from direct-cost activities.


As of 10 February 2012, the Budget Control Committee had identified several areas (proposed modifications to the Radio Regulations, draft resolutions) that could have some financial consequences for the Union. These are the following:

  • Resolution COM5/1 (WRC-12) – Use of modern electronic means of communication for administrative correspondence related to advance publication, coordination and notification of satellite networks including that related to Appendices 30, 30A and 30B, earth stations and radio astronomy stations. The cost of implementing this resolution is estimated at CHF 310 000. The Bureau will initially try to cover this cost by making savings.

  • Resolution COM5/2 (WRC-12) – Electronic submission and publication of advance publication of information (API). Implementing this resolution is expected to cost CHF 190 000 over a period of twelve months (2012-2013). Again, the Bureau will try to cover the initial cost by making savings.

  • Resolution COM6/8 (WRC-12) – Studies on frequency-related matters on International Mobile Telecommunications and other terrestrial mobile broadband applications. The conference invited ITU-R to study additional spectrum requirements taking into account technical operational characteristics of IMT through advances in technology and spectrally-efficient techniques, and their deployment. The estimated cost for five meeting sessions of 10 days each is CHF 600 000, including the cost of renting the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) and other logistical expenditure.


The financial consequences resulting from the various decisions and resolutions of WRC-12 are estimated at CHF 1.1 million. The implementation of these activities will, in the initial stages, be covered from savings within the allocated budget. However, if the Bureau cannot accommodate these activities within its current budget allocation, other funding sources may be envisaged.

 

 

In brief

Regulations fit for purpose

The radio spectrum is a finite resource, but frequency requirements and the multiplicity of radiocommunication applications are increasing. Regulatory procedures should be continually assessed in order to meet the demands of administrations.


Underlining that one of the purposes of the Radio Regulations is the effective management and use of spectrum, the conference has decided to invite ITU-R to initiate studies for possible updating, review and possible revision of outdated information, and rearrangement of certain parts of the Radio Regulations, except for Articles 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23 and 59. The results of these studies will be considered by a future world radiocommunication conference. ITU-R members are invited to participate actively in the studies by submitting contributions. The Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau will report to WRC-15 on the status of the studies. − Source: Resolution COM6/2 (WRC-12): Updating and rearrangement of the Radio Regulations.

 

Revised Radio Regulations

The conference adopted a partial revision to the Radio Regulations, which will enter into force on 1 January 2013. Some of the provisions, as amended, will apply provisionally before that date. As a general rule, new and revised Resolutions and Recommendations enter into force at the time of the signing of the Final Acts of a conference. Resolutions and Recommendations which a WRC has decided to suppress are abrogated at the time of the signing of the Final Acts of a conference.
Details are given in Resolution COM6/1 (WRC-12) on the “Provisional application of certain provisions of the Radio Regulations as revised by WRC-12 and abrogation of certain Resolutions and Recommendations”.

 


 


Not an official document – For information only.


   Links

 
Structure of the conference

WRC-12 newsroom

ITU News: WRC-12 Special Edition



   Videos


WRC-12 Closing Video

 


ITU Secretary-General
Closing Speech

 


Jorge Seall - SASIAIN, President, CONATEL, Paraguay

 


Olga Madruga, FORTI, AR-SAT, Argentina

 


James D Kalilangwe, Ministry for Information and Civic Education, Malawi





Sahar Cheaito, Republic of Lebanon, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority



 

Mudassar Hussain, Ministry of Information Technology, Pakistan


 
More videos




   Photos




















 































































 









 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 








 
 









 
 








 
 








 
 








 








 
















 

 
More photos