1

Introduction

The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) is a gathering of official delegations from over 140 nations organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). National government officials come together every few years to negotiate proposals to changes in international spectrum regulations which, if approved, would then be in force internationally under the auspices of the ITU. These proposals, called “agenda items,” are not brought to the WRC spontaneously; they must be agreed upon at a previous WRC in order to be considered at the subsequent WRC. In the interim between any two conferences, national governments work internally and with their regional counterparts to develop a consensus position on each proposal to the extent possible given varying national priorities and interests. The national delegates then bring their positions to the WRC and negotiate with other delegations before the proposal is finally voted on.

Agenda items are very specific and consider narrow but potentially substantial changes to the usage of the spectrum that can have a significant impact on users. Since the vast majority of spectrum allocations are for the active use of the spectrum, it is critical for vulnerable passive (receive-only) services to voice their concerns about potentially adverse effects on their operations.1

This report identifies the agenda items of relevance and the potential impact on U.S. radio astronomers and Earth remote-sensing researchers. It does not assess the relevance of agenda items to operations that support these fields or to other services or scientific pursuits. The items are discussed in numerical order to make it easy to locate a specific Agenda Item. The committee has determined that the agenda items in Table ES.1 could, if agreed on as proposed, impact Radio Astronomy Service (RAS) and Earth Exploration-Satellite Service (EESS) operations. Agenda items not discussed in this report are not expected to have an impact on RAS or EESS operations. Table ES.1 and the associated sections in the main body of the report contain the committee’s recommendations and conclusions.

The committee did not remark on bands other than those allocated to EESS and/or RAS except in particular cases where such comment was appropriate or where unwanted emissions might pose a threat to observations in bands that are allocated to RAS and/or EESS.

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1 In the United States, the Radio Astronomy Service (RAS) and the Earth Exploration-Satellite Service (EESS) are allocated 2.07% of the regulated spectrum on a primary basis and 4.08% on a secondary basis. Allocations for RAS and EESS are comparable in the ITU’s international allocation tables. NRC, Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2010, pp. 137-138.



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1 Introduction The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) is a gathering of official delegations from over 140 nations organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). National government officials come together every few years to negotiate proposals to changes in international spectrum regulations which, if approved, would then be in force internationally under the auspices of the ITU. These proposals, called “agenda items,” are not brought to the WRC spontaneously; they must be agreed upon at a previous WRC in order to be considered at the subsequent WRC. In the interim between any two conferences, national governments work internally and with their regional counterparts to develop a consensus position on each proposal to the extent possible given varying national priorities and interests. The national delegates then bring their positions to the WRC and negotiate with other delegations before the proposal is finally voted on. Agenda items are very specific and consider narrow but potentially substantial changes to the usage of the spectrum that can have a significant impact on users. Since the vast majority of spectrum allocations are for the active use of the spectrum, it is critical for vulnerable passive (receive-only) services to voice their concerns about potentially adverse effects on their operations. 1 This report identifies the agenda items of relevance and the potential impact on U.S. radio astronomers and Earth remote-sensing researchers. It does not assess the relevance of agenda items to operations that support these fields or to other services or scientific pursuits. The items are discussed in numerical order to make it easy to locate a specific Agenda Item. The committee has determined that the agenda items in Table ES.1 could, if agreed on as proposed, impact Radio Astronomy Service (RAS) and Earth Exploration-Satellite Service (EESS) operations. Agenda items not discussed in this report are not expected to have an impact on RAS or EESS operations. Table ES.1 and the associated sections in the main body of the report contain the committee’s recommendations and conclusions. The committee did not remark on bands other than those allocated to EESS and/or RAS except in particular cases where such comment was appropriate or where unwanted emissions might pose a threat to observations in bands that are allocated to RAS and/or EESS. 1 In the United States, the Radio Astronomy Service (RAS) and the Earth Exploration-Satellite Service (EESS) are allocated 2.07% of the regulated spectrum on a primary basis and 4.08% on a secondary basis. Allocations for RAS and EESS are comparable in the ITU’s international allocation tables. NRC, Spectrum Management for Science in the 21st Century, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2010, pp. 137-138. 7