For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 9, 2000
Contact: Ranjit de Silva
Art Brodsky


Negotiations on development of new wireless communications
technologies to highlight conference

ISTANBUL, TURKEY- Development of new wireless communications technologies, such as wireless Internet access, will be a major focus at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) on the allocation of radio frequency spectrum, which has convened in Istanbul, Turkey.

One of the key issues to be discussed at the conference is the development of the next generation of wireless services, referred to as "IMT-2000", which range from voice, data, and video services, including Internet access.

Representatives from over 150 countries are attending, including a U.S. delegation of government and private sector experts. WRC is a major international conference convened every 2 or 3 years by the International Telecommunications Union to discuss radio spectrum allocation issues. The conference has become increasingly important as the demand for wireless communications services has grown in both private and public sectors of the U.S. and other nations.

The U.S. delegation is being led by Ambassador Gail Schoettler, former Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, and will include senior officials from government agencies including the Departments of State, Commerce, Defense, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and industry.

"One of the key issues at stake is our ability to take communications services to the next level through new services that allow broadband wireless connections to the Internet," Ambassador Schoettler said in emphasizing a major thrust of the negotiations. "This conference could allow us to take a major next step in bringing international agreement to a process that helps us achieve the goal of a new generation of wireless broadband devices," she said.

"As the major international conference on all matters concerning the use of the radio frequency spectrum, the World Radiocommunication Conference will play a crucial role in determining the shape and availability of radiocommunication services around the world," Ambassador Schoettler said.

"The development of wireless communications technology is critically important to the United States because it will help us achieve the goal of expanding access to broadband communications services throughout our nation," Gregory L. Rohde, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, who will be part of the delegation, said.

"The results of this conference will be critical to the development of very promising wireless technologies and to the advancement of telecommunications both in the U.S. and internationally," Rohde said. "We hope that agreements realized at the WRC will help the United States advance the deployment of third generation wireless communications and other advanced services," Rohde added.

FCC Chairman William E. Kennard said, "As spectrum becomes scarcer and telecommunications services become increasingly more global, the WRC plays an ever more critical role in the efficient use of the spectrum. Decisions made at this meeting, at which the FCC is ably represented by Commissioners Susan Ness and Harold Furchtgott-Roth, can ensure that consumers worldwide will have speedy and reliable access to new telecommunications services."

In addition, the United States hopes to achieve agreement on the allocation of new spectrum for Global Positioning Systems (GPS). European countries, as the United States, are seeking new allocations for the development of GPS technology. The U.S. proposal would provide for improved accuracy and redundancy that will enable more robust civilian and military radionavigation services for aeronautical, maritime, land transport, and other uses including GPS receivers in space.

Other issues on the agenda include spectrum sharing among satellite systems and among satellite and terrestrial services. In addition, reallocating spectrum for broadcasting satellites and procedures for coordinating satellite systems will be determined.


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