Why #WRC15 is Important

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As we pass the mid-way point of the World Radiocommunication Conference #WRC15, François Rancy, Director, Radiocommunications, talks about the importance of the conference and some of the key issues already addressed by delegates.

Radiocommunications play a key role in most of today’s technology. When you use your mobile phone or smartphone to connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi, or when you use Bluetooth to listen to music, when you navigate on an electronic map using a Global Positioning System (GPS), when you watch TV or listen to radio in your car, when you learn about the weather forecast, you do it thanks and through radiocommunications.

All the applications mentioned above use a common resource in order to operate: radio-frequency spectrum. This spectrum is a limited global resource, and it is shared between all services which rely on radio waves to support new applications, growing user numbers and increased traffic. Given its importance, spectrum must be managed properly to ensure that these services and applications work in harmony.

In an era of rapid changes in radiocommunications, there is a need for regular meetings between all nations to ensure that the international regulations on the use of spectrum are updated and improved uniformly around the world. This takes on further significance when we think about monitoring earth resources, climate change and all aspects which are key for sustainable life on Earth.

Held every three to four years, the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) is mandated to review the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources, and revise them as needed, taking into account the rapid evolution of information and communication technology (ICT). The conference ensures that reliable radio services are available everywhere, enabling people to live and travel safely while enjoying high-performance and sustainable radiocommunications.

More than 3000 delegates from some 160 countries around the world are meeting in Geneva from 2 to 27 November to discuss the key issues of using spectrum and satellite orbital slots to enhance global communications. Particularly important is additional spectrum for the use of mobile broadband, otherwise referred to as international mobile telecommunications (IMT). More spectrum for IMT will ensure that the rapid increase in mobile broadband traffic is met in the future.

Equally important is to ensure suitable spectrum for new developments in satellite communications, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or drones, Earth exploration, emergency services or automotive radars.

WRC-15 reached agreement on the allocation of radio-frequency spectrum for global flight tracking in civil aviation, which will allow air traffic authorities to locate and follow planes in real time.

The countries present in Geneva are taking great effort to ensure that everybody’s interests are taken into account so that at the end of the conference, all 193 Member States can sign the new treaty which will result from the conference decisions. Consensus ensures that decisions are not challenged once adopted, thus building a sustainable ecosystem which enables new developments and investments in radiocommunications, while avoiding disruptions to the services provided to billons to users around the world.

We must continue to support the sustainable growth of ICT in Radiocommunications by ensuring that spectrum will be made available in the long run, so that investments can be made with the assurance that they are protected over the next 20 or 30 years.

This blog is based on an interview with Mr Rancy, Director, Radiocommunications Bureau. The full interview can be viewed here.

François Rancy

rancyMr. Rancy was elected by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2010 (PP-10) to the post of Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau (BR) of the International Telecommunication Union, and was confirmed in a second term during the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2014 (PP-14). As Director, Mr. Rancy is responsible for the management of the Radiocommunication Bureau which organises and co-ordinates the work of the Radiocommunication Sector whose aim is to ensure the rational, equitable, efficient and economical use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary satellite orbit. Previous to taking up his duties at the ITU in January, 2011, he was Director General of the French Agence nationale des fréquences. Since 1995, Mr. Rancy has served as the head or deputy head for national delegations at many ITU conferences and meetings. Mr. Rancy graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in 1977 and from Ecole nationale supérieure des télécommunications in 1979.

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