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International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRCs) are normally held every three to four years to review and, if necessary, revise the international Radio Regulations (RR), the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum.

WRCs are organized with an agenda based on proposals made by member administrations at the previous Conference.  WRC-19 will consider spectrum requirements for uses ranging from identifying spectrum for fifth generation “5G” broadband applications to global safety and distress systems.

NTIA, through its Office of Spectrum Management (OSM), is responsible for coordinating the Federal Government's participation in WRC-19.  OSM performs this role via the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee’s (IRAC) Radio Conference Subcommittee (RCS).  The RCS develops preliminary views and proposals for WRCs.  The RCS, like the IRAC, is composed of representatives appointed by federal departments and agencies.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), while not a member, has a designated Liaison Representative who works with the RCS.

Once the RCS adopts preliminary views and proposals, they are sent to the IRAC for consideration and approval.  Once approved by the IRAC, NTIA reviews these documents and develops a final position.  NTIA conveys these positions to the FCC’s International Bureau Chief via official correspondence from the Associate Administrator of OSM.  The FCC and NTIA reconcile any differences in their positions through their designated WRC coordinators.  Once reconciled, the positions are transmitted to the Department of State as draft U.S. preliminary views and proposals.  The Department of State submits the approved documents to the Americas regional group, the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) of the Organization of American States, or directly to the ITU depending on time constraints.

More information on federal spectrum management and the international process is contained in the NTIA Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management.

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