Nº 5 2015 > Editorial
Allocating spectrum for a changing world
Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary‑General
This is a particularly important time for ITU as we make final preparations for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC‑15) to be held in Geneva over four weeks, from 2 to 27 November.
During the World Radiocommunication Conference delegates will work day and night to negotiate and discuss the global management of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits, which is essential to extend the reach of information and communication technologies (ICT) to all corners of the world.
We look forward to welcoming more than 3000 delegates representing ITU’s 193 Member States. Many of them will also have participated the week prior to WRC‑15 in the Radiocommunication Assembly, which provides the technical basis for the work of WRC‑15, sets future work programmes in the field of radiocommunications, and approves worldwide radiocommunication standards (ITU–R Recommendations).
The key to the successful outcome of WRC‑15 lies in building consensus on how to balance the demands of services such as broadcasting, satellite, mobile broadband, aeronautical, maritime, amateur, Earth observation and radiolocation services.
The conference will also focus on pressing issues of global interest, such as climate change monitoring, public protection and disaster relief communications, space research, road safety, allocations for IMT‑2020 5G mobile broadband, the possible suppression of the “leap second” to achieve a continuous reference time scale (UTC), and maritime communications and navigation systems. This year, the agenda also includes the issue of global flight-tracking for civil aviation, following international concern due to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 in 2014.
Within ITU, the responsibility for ensuring the efficient use of the radio-frequency spectrum and interference-free operation of radio systems rests with the Radiocommunication Sector (ITU–R), which also has the task of implementing the ITU Radio Regulations. The radiocommunication landscape is changing at a faster pace than ever before and WRC‑15 will take into consideration current global changes during the decision-making process.
By applying the procedures of the ITU Radio Regulations for satellite networks, Member States acquire rights for international recognition for their space-based spectrum assets, and international protection from harmful interference. The recording of frequency assignments in the Master International Frequency Register ensures that orbital positions are used in a rational, equitable, efficient and economic way. Similar procedures also exist for terrestrial services in the ITU Radio Regulations.
This Special Edition of ITU News is devoted to WRC‑15, which is set to meet the challenges of allocating spectrum for the rapidly changing world of information and communication technologies.
ITU has recently held several other important events, highlighting the importance of ICT.
The ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Digital Development launched its annual State of Broadband Report on 21 September, just ahead of the forthcoming meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, held in New York on 26 September. In addition, the Report of the Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender was also released. At a gala event at the United Nations, ITU launched the ICTs in Sustainable Development Awards presented to Heads of State and Government to inspire their political commitment to seek technological solutions to meet global aspirations for a sustainable future. These events will be reported on in the forthcoming edition of ITU News.
ITU Telecom World took place from 12 to 15 October in Budapest, Hungary. It offered a unique platform for influential figures from government and industry to connect with start-up companies and digital entrepreneurs in the ICT sector to explore partnership solutions, investment opportunities, shared ideas and best practices. ITU’s Emerge initiative was launched at the event to enable and accelerate sustainable development through innovative ICT, as well as showcase and leverage relevant national and regional strategies and initiatives to promote ICT-related small business ecosystems. ITU Telecom World 2015 will also be covered in the next edition of ITU News.
The first meeting of our new standardization expert group, ITU–T Study Group 20, took place 19–23 October. The group will take an innovative approach to Internet of Things (IoT) standardization, particularly with respect to IoT applications in Smart Cities, by placing ITU’s technical expertise at the service of national and local governments, city planners and a wide range of vertically oriented industries.
The year will close with the 13th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS‑15) organized by the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) in Hiroshima, Japan, from 30 November to 2 December 2015, hosted by the Government of Japan. WTIS‑15 will feature several high-level debates addressing key questions related to ICT policy and measurement, including the role of ICT as a driver of innovation and entrepreneurship, in both developed and developing countries.
In the meantime, we look forward to the forthcoming World Radiocommunication Conference 2015. I hope that the articles, from key experts in the field, will offer you a well-informed read about some of the main issues at stake.