UK SPF Cluster 4 Event Round-Up: WRC-23 outcomes
Last year, the UK SPF Cluster 4 brought together the spectrum community to discuss the outcomes and first impressions from the month-long agreements at WRC-23.
UK SPF Future Spectrum Policy Summit 2024
The UK Spectrum Policy Forum invites you to its conference on future spectrum policy on Thursday 15th February, 2024. Register here.
The open-to-all event will gather key UK and international policy and industry decision-makers, to discuss some of the most pressing future spectrum policy questions, such as WRC-23 hot topics, spectrum sharing and spectrum considerations for 6G.
In general, attendees expressed an overall feeling of achievement, as the conference delivered on much of what intended. Despite tensions around regional discussions regarding a few key topics, such as the sub-1 GHz and AI 10, European countries were aligned on most relevant topics.
With the increased activity around spectrum usage by many developing countries, debate will only tend to intensify. The concepts of sharing are going to demand better discussions and geopolitical issues will remain a constant reminder of the weight of the conference for the international community. A growing satellite market marked by regional discrepancies will be a key factor shaping the contours of WRC-27.
Key Agenda Items and decisions
Regarding specific agenda items, AI 1.5 had an interesting result as it was decided through country footnotes inclusion. It reflected a good outcome from the European point of view. The interesting point is the upgrade and opening options for the future in the UK, not damaging broadcasting and giving a chance to the mobile industry to build on that secondary allocation.
On the AI 1.2, there was some concern due to the loss of satellite bandwidth and enhanced sharing. It exceeded expectations, as Ofcom handled it very well and they were pleased with the IMT identification for Region 1. Meanwhile, Mexico, Brazil and a few Asian countries joined in support for IMT.
Also, the AI 7 decision reflected a compromise of the satcom side around tolerances, which should not affect one particular operator. These are relevant discussions for the UK due to its interest in becoming a strong space player, in supporting launches and spaceports.
As technology develops there is a growing expectancy of success with ESIMs and AI 1.17 for space-based allocations. Interested parties advocating for HIBS came with a good result, which should help that part of the industry develop. On the radar operations side, the decisions will allow to measure ice signatures to monitor climate change and space research.
There was also additional work to improve the protection of earth observation centres suffering from unwanted emissions from fixed satellites looking down. Nevertheless, the conference should have come to a decision in a faster way on items to monitor climate change. Space weather events, for instance, became an unnecessarily complicated topic that should be more important.
Decision-making process and future conferences
Footnotes proved to be very influential in this conference. Another take away is that this conference also proved that the development of technology is continually increasing, as is the pressure on the use of spectrum.
Within current issues, many generations of service do not fit under ITU definitions. There is a long-standing comment if we can optimise the conference. With record-breaking number in terms of delegates, the preliminary agenda has also increased.
Another point to explore is the workload. The workload is way too big and large for governments and other public organisations. This concern will become a highly contentious topic for future conferences.
UK SPF Cluster 4 next steps
Responsible for following the temperature of international debates, the UK SPF Cluster 4 will map out what workshop topics should be identified and ask stakeholders what to discuss and what people want to address. One initial proposition for the next study cycle is to focus on avoiding interference about services that have not been defined yet. As the CPM is defining future study topics now, it will be interesting to see the outcome of international and European bodies and how they organize the work.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact our team.
Sophie Greaves is Head of Programme for Communications Infrastructure and Services at techUK, and oversees the UK Spectrum Policy Forum.
Sophie was promoted to Head having been Programme Manager for Communications Infrastructure and Services, leading techUK's telecoms activities, engagement and policy development. Previously, Sophie was Programme Assistant across a variety of areas including the Broadband Stakeholder Group, Central Government, Financial Services and Communications Infrastructure programmes.
Prior to joining techUK, Sophie completed a masters in Film Studies at University College London; her dissertation examined US telecoms policy relating to net neutrality and content distribution.
Tales has a background in law and economics, with previous experience in the regulation of new technologies and infrastructure.
In the UK and Europe, he offered consultancy on intellectual property rights of cellular and IoT technologies and on the regulatory procedures at the ITU as a Global Fellow at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI).
Tales has an LL.M in Law and Business by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and an MSc in Regulation at the London School of Economics, with a specialization in Government and Law.
Matthew joined techUK in August 2023 as a Programme Assistant, supporting the Communications Infrastructure programme, as well as the Digital Connectivity and Spectrum Policy Fora.