By Mario Maniewicz, ITU Radiocommunication Bureau Director
*This article has been adapted from my opening remarks at the ITU World Radiocommunication Seminar (WRS-20).
Just over a year ago, we concluded WRC-19: the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference. The decisions of the conference opened the opportunity for introducing new and advanced radiocommunication systems.
WRC-19 also paved the way to connect the world using innovative terrestrial and space-based communication technologies, including 5G, high-altitude platform stations, and constellations of non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellites.
The digital revolution is continuously opening doors to a variety of new applications that are spurring greater interest in, and demand for, the limited spectrum and orbital resources.
This increased demand requires that effective spectrum management processes be implemented.
The allocation of radio frequencies, the sharing, and harmonization of their use for different purposes, is done through an international treaty called the Radio Regulations. These regulations ensure the use of the radiofrequency spectrum is rational, equitable, efficient, and economical, while aiming to prevent harmful interference between different radio services.
From understanding to implementation
For more than a century, the Radio Regulations have governed the global use of radiofrequency spectrum and associated satellite orbits. ITU also develops international standards that ensure radiocommunication services adhere to minimum technical requirements and operate without interference.
Understanding how to implement these regulations and standards at national level is critical to building robust digital ecosystems that promote access to next-generation technologies.
This is why, for the first time ever, we have opened the plenary sessions of this year’s World Radiocommunication Seminar (WRS) to everyone, no matter whether they are members of ITU or not. We are thrilled that more and more people are using and deploying radiocommunication systems. And it is our role to inform all individuals and organizations about the Radio Regulations, the international standards that govern these systems, and how to implement them.
It is our role to inform all individuals and organizations about the Radio Regulations, the international standards that govern these systems, and how to implement them.
This way, next time an agency, company or university plans to launch a new radiocommunication system, for example a small satellite, they will know the framework and rules that enable governments worldwide to obtain and maintain rights to use spectrum in order to operate their radiocommunication networks without causing or suffering from harmful interference.
What to expect at WRS-20
ITU organizes World Radiocommunication Seminars (WRS) on a biennial basis, to complement the cycle of Regional Radiocommunication Seminars (RRS).
World Radiocommunication Seminars deal with the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the satellite orbits, and the application of the ITU Radio Regulations.
Hosting a global virtual event means we must go the extra mile to accommodate participants in different time zones, which is why WRS-20 will be presented twice each day. The first session will be held for participants in the Asia-Pacific, and East and Southern Africa Regions, while the second will be presented for the Americas, Europe, CIS, Arab States and West Africa regions. Recordings of the seminar sessions will also be made available on our event website.
During the first week, the plenary sessions will cover the basics of spectrum management at national, regional, and global levels. We will also review the ITU Radio Regulations as updated by WRC-19, overview the regulatory framework for terrestrial and space radiocommunication services, and update participants on the current activities of the ITU-R Study Groups.
The second week, limited to ITU members only, will feature basic training workshops on how to use ITU-developed tools for frequency notifications and technical examinations. Hands-on exercises will enable participants to master both the procedures and the software that the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) uses to process filings. Participants will be able to alternate between space and terrestrial services and between lectures and practical sessions.
How to get involved
I am also delighted to announce the launch of a new programme called Network of Women for WRC-23, and I invite you to join this initiative aimed at increasing gender parity in the work of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector and in the ICT industry, in general.
I hope you all enjoy this World Radiocommunication Seminar. For those entities that have yet to join ITU, I invite you to become a member and participate actively in our work as a Sector Member, Associate or Academia.
For our current members, I wish you great success in your work to implement systems in accordance with the Radio Regulations as you continue to produce tangible benefits to connect people everywhere.
Learn more about the World Radiocommunication Seminar (WRS-20) and register here.