Annual Report and Accounts 1999-2000
To seek improvement in global and regional spectrum management co-ordination to the benefit of the UK; through RSI, commercially to exploit the Agency's reputation and expertise through the provision of international consultancy services.
|The venue for WRC-2000 in Istanbul
(ITU/A de Ferron)
CEPT (The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations)
The Agency has been actively involved in CEPT deliberations on how best to provide for high-level strategic planning, and how to improve coordination between radio and telecommunications issues. The current thinking, which the Agency supports, is to make more use of the CEPT Plenary Assembly to discuss strategic issues and to create a new telecommunications committee, which would absorb the functions of the current separate radio and telecommunications committees with a single permanent office.
The Agency has continued to lead for the UK in the activities of the European Radiocommunications Committee (ERC) of CEPT. It holds the chairmanship of the Spectrum Engineering Working Group (Terry Jeacock) as well as several project teams.
The Conference Preparatory Group (CPG) of the ERC is responsible for co-ordinating European preparations for the next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2000), which is to be held in Istanbul from 8 May to 2 June 2000. The Agency has co-ordinated the UK input to this process and participated fully in the eight CPG meetings and numerous associated meetings. This work resulted in a comprehensive set of European Common Proposals for WRC-2000 which the UK has been able to support formally.
The ERC's third Detailed Spectrum Investigation (DSI), covering the frequency range 862-3400 MHz, was taken forward during the year in discussion with Administrations and through several public workshops. The final version of the report was published in March 2000. The Agency took the lead in producing a UK Government response to the various drafts produced by the ERO and will be taking the lead for the UK in the project team which has been set up by the ERC's Frequency Management Working Group to co-ordinate an ERC response to the DSI recommendations.
Mike Hailstone of the Agency chaired a CEPT Group which investigated licensing processes and documentation for PMR in CEPT. This work was set up as the result of a presentation by industry to the EU about the industry's concern at lack of harmonisation for PMR across Europe. The work of the Group resulted in ERC Report 73 Investigation of the possibilities of harmonising PMR within CEPT Administrations and two ERC Recommendations covering licence duration, processing time, application forms and licence documentation.
The Agency was also actively involved in the preparation of an ERC Report on spectrum pricing as a means of supporting spectrum management. The Report describes many of the policies currently in use in the UK for setting licence fees and also includes discussion and review of similar experiences in other countries. It has been welcomed by many Administrations which are considering changes to their licensing and pricing regimes.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
The Agency has continued to lead for the UK in the ITU, particularly in the activities of the ITU's Radiocommunication and Telecommunication Development Sectors. During the year, it was agreed that responsibility for the UK financial contribution to the ITU should rest entirely with the Agency. It has also been agreed that, with effect from 1 April 2000, the responsibility for the Telecommunications Standardization Sector should transfer to the Agency. Thus the Agency now has responsibility for co-ordinating all UK activities in the ITU.
One of the key decisions of the ITU Council in 1999 was the establishment of a working group ("The Reform Group") to undertake a comprehensive review of the ITU's structure and working methods, with a view to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation. A particular aim of the review is to consider the increasing role of the private sector in the activities of the ITU, especially those relating to standardisation. The Agency is playing an active role in the Reform Group and Malcolm Johnson has been appointed as chairman of a sub-group to consider the possibility of creating a new global standardisation entity under the umbrella of the ITU. A UK briefing group has been established to co-ordinate UK government and private sector interests and the UK is participating in the coordination of European interests through the CEPT.
Preparation for the next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2000), which is to be held in Istanbul from 8 May to 2 June 2000, has been a major activity for the ITU. The Agency has co-ordinated inputs to the various ITU-R Study Groups involved and led the UK delegation to the Conference Preparatory Meeting held in November 1999.
The UK has been active in responding to a joint Telecommunication Development Sector and Radiocommunication Sector initiative to begin a long-term review of future spectrum requirements similar to the Detailed Spectrum Investigation conducted in Europe. The Agency proposed this initiative which has attracted wide interest, particularly amongst developing countries.
CISPR (the International Radio Interference Committee)
CISPR is the principal international body in the area of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standardisation. The Agency's Peter Kerry holds the chairmanship of CISPR. CISPR continues actively to pursue the development of emission standards to protect radio services from interference from electrical devices. These standards normally become British Standards Institution (BSI) publications that are used to enable industry to comply with the EMC Directive.
One of the major challenges is to ensure that the many international standardisation committees keep to the CISPR requirements for protecting radio services. CISPR has mounted an EMC publicity campaign to encourage this.
Developments in technology mean that CISPR also has to evolve, and changes are in progress to deal with the impact of emissions from multimedia devices. In the coming period CISPR has to decide how best to meet the challenge of EMC emissions from networks and systems. This is a complex subject, but essential to ensuring that pollution of the radio spectrum is kept to an acceptable level.
The European Union
Following publication of the European Commission's 1999 Communications Review (COM 1999/539), the Agency has worked closely with OFTEL and the DTI in preparing the UK Government response. The Agency has also continued to take the lead in co-ordinating the UK response to the Commission's current initiative on radio spectrum policy, the main conclusions of which are also reflected in the Communications Review. It is expected that the formulation of measures arising from the Review will be developed over the next 18 months, prior to implementation by Member States in 2002/3.
A significant amount of work was carried out in the year in preparation for the introduction of the Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) Directive 1999/5/EC. This is a European Directive that harmonises the laws in Member States of the European Union for the placing on the market of radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment. It is a significant deregulatory measure aimed at reducing the time and costs involved for manufacturers in bringing their products to market and removing de-facto trade barriers between Member States. The Directive removes the requirement for manufacturers of most types of radio equipment to gain type approval for their products and it incorporates the requirements of the EMC and Low Voltage Directives within its scope.
The Directive calls for Notified Bodies to be established to assist manufacturers in the assessment of their products against the requirements of the Directive. In the UK this will not be a Government role, but will be carried out by independent commercial organisations with experience in the assessment and testing of radio and telecommunications products.
European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute (ETSI)
The Agency has continued to maintain its high profile in ETSI. David Hendon completed his term as the first chairman of the ETSI Board in November 1999 and stood down, but DTI retained a place on the ETSI Board with the election of Christopher Holmes. Olly Wheaton remains the head of the UK delegation to the ETSI General Assembly and retained his chairmanship of the ETSI Committee TC-ERM (EMC and Radio Spectrum Matters) for a second two-year term.
In addition Olly Wheaton chairs the ETSI R&TTE Steering Committee responsible for the overall co-ordination in the preparation of harmonised standards in ETSI in support of the R&TTE Directive and the selection and tasking of a "Specialist Task Force". Harmonized standards are the preferred route to the market under the R&TTE Directive and provide key spectrum management parameters.
Much has been achieved with UK industry in developing and modifying equipment standards within ETSI. While it is recognised that industry has some difficulty in accepting receiver standards, for low power applications in particular, minimal technical characteristics have now been included in the general standard EN 300 220-1 for this type of equipment.
ETSI created the third generation partnership project 3GPP responsible for preparing standards for 3rd generation telecommunications systems, globally known as IMT-2000. Active participation in this area by members of the Agency's auction team, together with related activities within CEPT, helped to develop the technological and spectral basis for the 3rd Generation auction. Harmonised standards to facilitate market access are now being prepared by a joint ad-hoc group.
RSI international business
As well as providing the Agency with modern information systems (see Objective 3), one of RSI's objectives is to sell the Agency's spectrum management expertise and systems into wider markets. RSI's first contract, to provide spectrum monitoring advice to the Russian Federation, is expected to be complete by May 2000. In Egypt, RSI is part of a consortium advising the authorities on the establishment of a National Telecoms Regulatory Authority and in India it is advising the Ministry of Communications on spectrum management practices and the procurement of spectrum monitoring systems.
|View from Wyndham House looking west towards the London Eye, with the DLR in the foreground|