February 26, 2010 - 2:45 pm

The World Radiocommunication Conference (or WRC) is an international treaty-level forum held by the International Telecommunication Union (or ITU) (a United Nations agency) about every four years. At the WRC countries decide on the sharing of frequency spectrum to allow the deployment or growth of all types of radiocommunication services such as wireless, broadcasting, satellite, aeronautical and other services. Because WRC decisions have such wide-reaching effects on U.S. and international radiocommunication industries, the preparations for this conference begin several years in advance. During the WRC preparatory phase, long term goals and positions that would benefit the U.S. government and commercial industry are developed.

To identify the public interest for various items to be addressed by WRC, the FCC established a forum, WRC-12 Advisory Committee (WAC), in which the public can provide its views and recommendations to the agency. The WAC is established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The WAC is chaired by private sector representatives and has an open membership structure. The FCC takes WAC recommendations in to account as it develops positions for the WRC based on the public interest standard. In parallel, NTIA works with the Executive Branch agencies to identify their priorities for the conference. Subsequently, the FCC and NTIA reconcile any differences and formulate joint recommendations to State Department which has overall responsibility for U.S. preparations and participation in the WRC. This approach increases the opportunity for information exchange, and benefits everyone involved.