The use of radio spectrum, and its role in today’s technology focused society, has never been so important. Most of us make direct use of spectrum in our everyday lives when we use mobile/smart phones, tablet computers and when we watch television (which receives signals from transmitters on the ground or from satellites that orbit the earth).
But radio spectrum is also used for many other purposes, including for aviation, maritime and by the scientific community for the detection of emissions from space (radio astronomy) or from the earth itself. This helps to inform experts of the effects of climate change and to predict major natural disasters.
All these different uses of radio spectrum benefit, to some extent, from international agreements and common arrangements concerning what bands are used by particular services. At a national level, countries have the sovereign right to plan spectrum use within their own territories. However, there are major gains from common frameworks at bilateral, regional or global levels. These common frameworks help to manage potential interference between countries and enable global communications, including for ships and aircraft. International frameworks also support common equipment specifications, which means equipment can be manufactured more cheaply, taking advantage of "economies of scale".
While bilateral and regional discussions are an on-going process, the most important of these global harmonisation activities are World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRCs). These Conferences are held approximately every four years and take key decisions concerning the identification and international harmonisation of spectrum bands.
Ofcom has today published an update on the key issues to be considered at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC).
WRCs are held approximately every four years and take key decisions concerning the identification and international harmonisation of spectrum bands.
Under a Government direction, Ofcom represents the UK at WRCs. The next conference takes place in Geneva from the 2 - 27 November 2015. It will consider a wide range of issues across a number of sector interests, including mobile broadband, maritime, aeronautical, satellite and science use of spectrum.
Today’s update follows a consultation in June 2014 and is intended to inform the on-going preparation process and stakeholder engagement programme. We provide updated UK positions, taking into account the responses from the consultation.
In a number of cases, however, further work will be required to develop the UK position and we may publish another WRC update closer to the start of the conference.