World radiocommunication conferences (WRC) are normally held every three to four years to review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum, including services using satellite orbits.
NTIA is responsible for coordinating the Federal government's participation in the International Telecommunication Union's WRC-15. The conference in 2015 will consider spectrum requirements for uses ranging from mobile service allocations for broadband applications to controlling unmanned aircraft from space.
The U.S. was successful in achieving an agenda item for potential new mobile broadband spectrum to support the President’s 500 MHz Initiative. Expanded wireless broadband access will trigger the creation of innovative new businesses, provide cost-effective connections in rural areas, increase productivity, improve public safety, and allow for the development of mobile telemedicine, telework, distance learning, and other new applications that will transform Americans' lives.
A great deal of focus will be given to this agenda item to ensure U.S. manufacturers have sufficient harmonized international spectrum to realize economies of scale for emerging technologies. Spectrum and the new technologies it enables also are essential to the Federal Government. As the wireless broadband revolution unfolds, innovation can enable efficient and imaginative uses of spectrum to maintain and enhance the Government's capabilities.
Every three to four years, in connection with the WRC, countries negotiate changes to the international Radio Regulations to accommodate new spectrum-dependent technologies and promote the efficient use of spectrum. The Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee’s (IRAC) Radio Conference Subcommittee (RCS) provides NTIA with recommendations for U.S. preliminary views and proposals for WRCs. Like its parent organization the IRAC, the RCS is composed of federal departments and agencies who appoint representative(s) to participate in the RCS. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), while not a member, has designated a Liaison Representative who works with the RCS. Representatives must be government employees and RCS meetings are open only to representatives and any accompanying assistant(s). Members of the general public may not attend RCS meetings.
Once the RCS adopts preliminary views and proposals, the chair submits them to the IRAC chair and they are added to the agenda for consideration and approval. Once approved, NTIA reviews these documents and the advice they contain and develops a final position. NTIA conveys these positions to the FCC International Bureau Chief via official correspondence from the Associate Administrator of NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management. FCC and NTIA reconcile any differences in their positions through their designated WRC coordinators and these reconciled positions are transmitted to State Department as Draft U.S. preliminary views and proposals. State Department submits those documents it approves to the appropriate Inter-American Telecommunication Commission Permanent Consultative Committee II on Radiocommuncations (CITEL PCC II) regional preparatory meeting or directly to the ITU depending on time constraints. The NTIA Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management, Chapter 11 governs the NTIA process for Public Access to Federal Spectrum Management.
Recent WRCs, gave additional emphasis to consolidated regional positions and proposals. NTIA is also actively engaged with the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) and other regional organizations to promote and strengthen the America's position on key issues.