WRC-19 to manage scarce radio-frequency spectrum for rapidly evolving terrestrial and space-based communication technologies
International Telecommunications Union Press Release
Sharm El-Sheikh, October 28, 2019
The World Radiocommunication Conference, the international treaty-making Conference governing the global management of scarce radio-frequency spectrum as well as geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits, opened today in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The conference was opened by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt. Egypt has been a Member State of ITU since 1876. UN Secretary-General António Guterres addressed WRC-19 by video. WRC-19, held every three to four years, is mandated to review and revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. Dr Amr Badawi of Egypt was appointed Chairman of the conference.
“The World Radiocommunication Conference, which opened today, will address some of the leading edge technological innovations set to play a pivotal role in tomorrow’s digital economy and the future development of services, systems and technologies,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, noting that digital inclusion provides the chance to improve the lives of millions across the world.
“A transformative revolution in connectivity is in the making with immense implications for the trillion-dollar telecommunication and ICT industry and in advancing many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
The Secretary-General thanked the Government of Egypt for hosting one of ITU’s landmark conferences in Sharm-el-Sheikh.
“Today, even as billions of people and devices are connected to the Internet, increasing the efficiency of industries and companies, half the world remains unconnected,” said Mr Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau.
“As we move into an era of both digital and environmental transformation, we must ensure that the decisions taken at WRC-19 will not only allow for new technologies and services to be deployed without interfering with existing ones, but also extend the benefits of technological advancement to all the world’s citizens, bringing potential benefits to our society, the global economy and the environment.”
Unlocking human potential with technology of the future The conference will unlock great potential for human progress advancing many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will provide the tools for effective climate action, forge pathways for better access to health care, foster sustainable agricultural practices and reduce poverty and hunger, improve energy efficiency, facilitate Intelligent Transport Systems and machine-to-machine communications, make cities smart and communities more sustainable, foster safer travel on land, on air and at sea, and allow countries to participate in the digital economy by providing access to faster and more affordable broadband connectivity, especially in currently underserved communities.
WRC-19 decisions: Implications for future digital environment WRC-19 will address requirements for some of the leading edge technological innovations set to play a pivotal role in tomorrow’s digital economy with far-reaching implications for the trillion-dollar telecommunication and ICT industry.
Among a host of items on the agenda, the conference will:
- Facilitate new innovations in mobile technology, identifying additional frequency bands for the future development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) and further enabling the rollout of IMT-2020 networks, also known as 5G.
- Update and modernize the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and expand geographical coverage, including in Polar regions.
- Ensure that Earth exploration and meteorological-satellite systems continue to provide environmental monitoring, prediction and mitigation of the negative effects caused by climate change as well as monitor the earth’s resources.
- Consider additional frequencies for Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM) communicating from aircraft, maritime vessels and land vehicles with satellites on the geostationary orbit (GSO).
- Enhance the international regulatory framework to improve satellite broadband connectivity from new non-geostationary satellite systems composed of multiple, multi-satellite constellations.
- Allocate frequency bands for High-Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) – aircraft positioned in the stratosphere for very-long-duration flights used for telecommunications, emergency/public safety communications, intelligent transportation systems, maritime surveillance, and environmental monitoring.
- Facilitate radiocommunication systems between train and trackside systems to meet the demands of a high-speed railway environment.
- Provide effective communication for portable and mobile computer-based equipment over Wireless access systems, including radio local area networks (WiFi).
Over 3500 participants from ITU’s 193 Member States are expected to attend the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) along with 267 observers from among ITU’s 900 private sector members as well as members of international organizations.
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RAC Special Advisor Bryan Rawlings is at WRC-19
The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) is now underway in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and is being held from October 28 to November 22, 2019.
Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, the RAC Special Advisor at World Radiocommunication Conferences, will be providing updates via the RAC website and social media on the issues and processes that ultimately determine Amateur Radio frequencies around the world.
We will also be including a report on the proceedings and outcomes of WRC-19 in a future issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine.
The September-October 2019 issue of The Canadian Amateur features Bryan’s article “Countdown to WRC-19: A Final Update”. We are pleased to provide you with an updated article below to help set the stage for WRC-19.
Canadian Amateurs who wish to stay abreast of how all of these issues play out should subscribe to RAC bulletins, watch for news postings on the RAC website, and monitor RAC’s Twitter and Facebook accounts during the Conference using the hashtag #RACatWRC19.
Last week the Radiocommunication Assembly 2019 (RA-19) was held from October 21-25 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt just prior to WRC-19.
The Radiocommunication Assembly, hosted by Egypt and represented by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), was organized by the International Telecommunication Union’s Radiocomunication Bureau. For more information please visit: