Canadians in dual role at WARC '92

by James Greer


Canadian delegates to the World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC '92) will have to be both mediators and advocates to achieve their goals.


"There are some proposals which won't have a major effect on Canadian telecommunication plans and in those cases we'll be in the classic Canadian role of intermediary," says Bruce Gracie, Head, WARC/CCI Affairs, International Relations Branch and deputy head of the delegation. "However, we will argue for our proposals very aggressively."


"We will lobby extensively for MSAT and Digital Audio Broadcasting. It's very important to have the support of other countries."


WARC, being held this month in Spain, will consider the re-allocation of radio frequency bands for new uses and for the extension of existing allocations for such services as mobile satellites. Approximately 100 governments will send representatives to the conference. The Canadian delegation, with some 35 members from the public sector, including Communications Canada, and from the telecommunication industry, will be one of the larger groups.


Among the frequency bands being considered are HF, UHF, and SHF band. Delegates will try to find more space in those bands for international short-wave radio, digital audio broadcasting (DAB), mobile satellite telecommunications systems (MSAT), and a satellite service for high­definition television.


The debate over HF re­allocation pits fixed service communications, used extensively in developing countries, against the expansion of international short­wave radio, says Gracie. "Developing countries use fixed radio transmitters for their national services and the question is what will happen to those services if international short-wave is expanded."


The Canadian group will mediate between industrialized and developing countries on HF allocation, says Gracie. "We're neutral on the HF proposals, although we are prepared to iden­tify possible bands for re­allocation if the conference decides to proceed in this fashion."


The decisions on the re­allocation of the UHF band will affect how Canada implements DAB and MSAT. Canada wants more space in the L-band of UHF for DAB. This would allow AM and FM stations to switch to DAB, and open up more space for digital satellite broadcasting.


Canada will propose that the re-allocation occur over 20 years, allowing users to plan their moves and reduce costs. In addition to the DAB proposal, the Canadian delegation will argue that addi­tional frequencies should be allocated to mobile satellite systems. This would open up frequencies for several programs currently under study, including MSAT.


The Canadian delegation will aggressively pursue international support for the proposals, says Gracie. "We will lobby exten­sively for MSAT and DAB. It's very important to have the sup­port of other countries."



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1991 - Groundwork Set for WARC '92