Nº 2 2015 > Editorial
Gearing up to WRC‑15
Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary‑General
This edition of ITU News covers the preparations underway by ITU membership for the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC‑15), which will be convened in Geneva, Switzerland, throughout the month of November. WRC‑15 will review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. The Radio Regulations provide a unique international regulatory framework to guarantee all spectrum users the interference-free operations that are essential to all wireless applications and services.
WRC‑15 will address the spectrum requirements for all radiocommunication systems and the necessary trade-offs between all stakeholders to ensure that these requirements are met. One of the main items will relate to additional spectrum to facilitate the development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) — both terrestrial and satellite — highlighting the importance ITU’s membership places on the role of wireless in making broadband accessible to all.
A large part of the work now being done by the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU–R) is focused directly on laying the vital groundwork for the Conference, with all ITU Member States and industry working together to build consensus nationally and regionally and ensure that the consequences of their deliberations and decisions are fully understood and supported. There is a packed schedule of preparatory meetings and workshops geared to improving awareness of the issues and offering the opportunity to debate them ahead of the Conference. WRC‑15 is a major opportunity to achieve the harmony which is one of my priorities for ITU’s work, and it is my hope that the Conference will achieve key consensual and harmonious outcomes, to the benefit of all.
The ITU–R also carries out many other important activities. On 13 February 2015, ITU welcomed the World Radio Day celebrations to ITU Headquarters in Geneva. Participants and attendees benefited from a range of different viewpoints and perspectives on the past, present and future of radio. Panelists agreed that radio is anything but a legacy technology: according to ITU data, radio still remains the communications medium with the greatest reach in terms of population coverage. This edition of ITU News also charts the progress of different regions towards the digital switchover, according to the timetable agreed by the 2006 ITU Regional Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva (RRC‑06).
Further training in adapting ICT regulation to the very latest industry and societal developments will be on offer to ITU membership at the Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR‑15), in Gabon, from 9 to 11 June 2015. This event promises an exciting line-up of speakers and a packed schedule, hearing from some key public and private sector experts, and contributing to the publication of ITU’s “Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2015” report. This edition of ITU News includes a preview of upcoming events (such as GSR and Girls in ICT Day), as well as a review of the Broadband Commission meeting which took place in Paris from 26 to 27 February 2015.
Looking ahead, ITU will be launching a new work programme later in the year aimed at helping ICT-related young innovators and entrepreneurs, innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and technology hubs — with a special focus on developing countries, where increased connectivity is most needed and will deliver the greatest benefits.