The World Radiocommunication Conference, held every three to four years, is mandated to review and revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. This year's conference, taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, will continue for nearly a month (28 October – 22 November).
This is an especially important event for developing nations. WRC-19 promises to play a role in advancing many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ITU, offering an impressive checklist, suggests it will provide the tools for effective climate action; forge pathways for better access to health care; foster sustainable agricultural practices and reduce poverty and hunger; improve energy efficiency; facilitate intelligent transport systems and machine-to-machine communications; make cities smart and communities more sustainable; foster safer travel on land, on air and at sea; and allow countries to participate in the digital economy by providing access to faster and more affordable broadband connectivity, especially in currently underserved communities.
The actual conference agenda doesn't claim quite so much, but it will focus on a wide range of very important areas including frequency bands for 5G; the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS); satellite-based environmental monitoring; non-geostationary satellite systems composed of multiple, multi-satellite constellations; high-altitude platform stations (aircraft positioned in the stratosphere); radiocommunication systems between train and trackside systems; and wireless communication for portable and mobile computer-based equipment.
There is, of course, a lot more planned for the four weeks of the conference – and over 3,500 participants from ITU's 193 Member States, along with 267 observers from among ITU's 900 private sector members – as well as members of international organizations – are likely to be kept very busy.