WRC19 – industry must make its voice heard

June 22nd, 2016, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

With the 2015 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) World Radio Conference (WRC15) having completed its work late last year, the wheels have already been set into motion to start preparing for the next conference, WRC19.   The Department of Telecommunication and Postal services (DTPS) held a WRC-15  debriefing meeting in Pretoria on 9 June 2016 to share the outcome of the conference with relevant government departments, industry and individuals interested in the use of spectrum. DTPS also launched the National Preparatory Working Group (NPWG) to commence with the preparations for WRC-19.
Dr. Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services handing in South Africa’s document agreeing to the Final Acts of WRC15.

Dr. Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services handing in South Africa’s document agreeing to the Final Acts of WRC15.

In his opening remarks, the chairman of the NWPG, Dick Sono, chief director, Radio Frequency Spectrum at DTPS, highlighted the importance of working across industry and sharing expertise for the preparation of the South African position on the various agenda items which may impact on the future of communication and the use of frequency spectrum for technologies supporting astronomy, location services, the study of the impact of solar activity on satellites and aircraft navigation.  ono said: “It is important that we participate in the various groups to study and consider the requirements of the various sectors of the South African Industry that require frequency spectrum allocations.”

The World Radio Conference reviews and revises the radio regulations which are international treaties governing the radio spectrum and satellite slots. The WRC is a complex process and is preceded by the radio assembly which structures the programme and approves radio communication studies including reports, recommendations and handbooks. The WRC reviews the regulatory framework for international spectrum management and satellite coordination. The conference is followed by the CPM which is the first session conference preparatory meeting for the following WRC and sets the agenda. WRC15 was the largest conference held to date with 3800 registered participants representing over 160 of the ITU member states.    WRC15 was a paperless conference – conducted in six languages.

In February this year the DTPS staff briefed the cabinet on nine key national objectives achieved at the conference.

  • Allocation of globally harmonised spectrum for mobile telecommunication services to support broadband (IMT)
  • Protection of spectrum to support digital terrestrial TV (DTT)
  • Protection of spectrum used by security services
  • A single globally-harmonised allocation for broadband public safety communication
  • Agreement on an allocation to support global flight tracking (ITU response to the disappearance of MH370)
  • Global spectrum allocation for wireless avionics  (wireless systems within aircraft)
  • A new resolution covering the development standards for unmanned aircraft systems
  • Agreement to explore addition frequencies for IMT (5G) above 6 GHz and
  • A global allocation for short-range high-resolution automotive radar.

Following the WRC15 resolution there are some implications for South Africa impacting on the national spectrum management arrangements and the updating of the national radio frequency plan. The outcomes of WRC15 also provide market signals in terms applications of various services and inform DTPS and ICASA about ongoing changes in spectrum management trends.

Preparation for WRC19 has already commenced with the DTPS inviting industry to join the NPWG WRC19. At the first meeting held on 9 June 2016 some industries communicated their interest in various WRC19 agenda items which they believe will impact on their services. For several agenda items rapporteurs were proposed. At this early stage not all agenda items have industry representations. Industry is invited to study the WRC19 agenda and consider participation in the NPWG WRC19.

Visit http://www.dtps.gov.za/images/phocagallery/Popular_Topic_Pictures/NWPG-Agenda_WRC-19.pdf)

For more information:  spectrum.team@dtps.gov.za

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