Home Business & Finance ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 addresses future of space-, sea- and land-based radiocommunications

ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 addresses future of space-, sea- and land-based radiocommunications

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​​​​​​​The World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) opened today in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, bringing governments together for negotiations on the allocation of radio-frequency spectrum.

The conference, organized every three to four years by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), will review and update the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of spectrum and geostationary and non-geostationary satellite orbits. 

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai, attended the WRC-23 opening ceremony. 

For the opening, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the World Radiocommunication Conference, “is a testament to the power of international cooperation in tackling global challenges.” In the message delivered on his behalf, Guterres added, “Radio frequencies, whether on Earth or in space, form the backbone of advanced communications for all of humanity. From education to healthcare, from agriculture to climate monitoring, expanding radiocommunication services and bridging the digital divide is key to reducing inequalities and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.” 

Much of the technology in everyday life uses radio-frequency spectrum​ allocated by ITU’s world radiocommunication conferences. Ensuring that the Radio Regulations reflect the changing demand for spectrum use is critical for the efficient operation of existing and future radiocommunication services and equipment. 

“We are at an inflection point in tech history, and radiocommunications are at the top of the global agenda,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General. “Equitably managed spectrum and the associated satellite orbits are among the best tools in our toolbox to make good on our commitment to build a digital future that works for everyone and for our planet.” 

“While today’s world is full of challenges, this conference comes to set the course and direct the compass toward sustainable human development by updating the Radio Regulations and establishing international consensus on the frequencies necessary for the coming era,” said H.E. Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, Director General of the UAE Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA). “With the broad horizons it brings in the fields of smart cities, digital economy, knowledge society, space and others, we are confident that this conference will achieve the results that meet the expectations and aspirations of our peoples.” 

H.E. Eng. Mohammed Al Ramsi, Deputy Director General for the Telecommunication Sector of TDRA was elected as the chair of WRC-23. The conference is hosted by TDRA and will take place from 20 November to 15 December. 

“This conference will revise and update the Radio Regulations to support the introduction of new radio-based technologies, systems, technologies and services and their growing spectrum requirements while continuing to protect the vital radio services we rely on today,” said Mario Maniewicz, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau. “Newer innovative technologies will allow us to better monitor our changing planet, and better connect communities and people everywhere: on land, at sea, in the air, and in space. I count on the spirit of cooperation of the ITU Membership and your technical expertise to make WRC-23 a resounding success and leave a legacy of prosperity for billions of people across the globe.” 

The WRC-23 agenda items include:

  • Identifying additional frequency bands for the continued development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including the use of high-altitude platform stations as IMT base stations for the universal deployment of wireless networks.
  • Improvements to the international regulatory framework for geostationary orbit (GSO) and non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellites while promoting equitable access for all countries.
  • Use of satellite technologies for broadband services to improve connectivity, particularly in remote areas.
  • New spectrum to enhance radiocommunications in the aeronautical mobile service, including by satellite, and to facilitate the use of the space research and Earth exploration-satellite services for climate monitoring, weather prediction and other scientific missions.
  • The modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
  • The regulatory framework for the use of earth stations in motion on board aircraft and ships for communication with GSO and NGSO satellites.
  • The future of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) broadcasting band which has implications for television broadcast, programme-making and special events, as well as public protection and disaster relief. 

The Radio Regulations ensure that the use of the radio-frequency spectrum is rational, equitable, efficient, and economical – all while aiming to prevent harmful interference between different radiocommunication services. 

The international treaty on radiocommunications dates back to 1906, when the International Radiotelegraph Convention was signed. In the 117 years since, the Radio Regulations have undergone 38 revisions and expanded to a four-volume agreement of more than 2,000 pages. 

WRC-23 was preceded by the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly which met in Dubai from 13-17 November to establish the structure, working methods and programme of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector. 

Overall, 4,000 participants are expected for WRC-23, including delegates from ITU Member States and ITU Radiocommunication Sector Members representing international organizations, equipment manufacturers, network operators and industry forums attending as observers.

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