Overview[edit | edit source]
The ITU World Administrative Radio Conference Geneva 1979 (WARC-79) was convened by the ITU in an effort to reach global agreement on the revised international arrangements necessary for efficient and interference-free use of the radiofrequency spectrum. It took place from September 24 to December 6, 1979.
The Final Acts of WARC-79 ("Final Acts") will constitute the "radio regulations, Geneva, 1979" and enter into force on January 1, 1982 for those countries that have formally adopted the Final Acts. The 1959 Radio Regulations, as partially revised by subsequent specialized administrative radio conferences, will be superseded.
WARC-79 was of special importance because of the broad scope of its agenda, which included most of the major arrangements relating to radio, and because it was the first general administrative radio conference since 1959 and therefore included many developing countries that had won their independence in the intervening two decades.
WARC-79 and related international conferences and meetings demonstrate conclusively that contention for access to the radio spectrum and its important collateral element, the geostationary orbit for communication satellites, presents new and urgent challenges to vital U.S. national interests. The growing differences among nations over the use of the radio spectrum and related satellite orbit capacity are reflected in the Final Acts of WARC-79. Given the complexities of spectrum management in a changing world environment and the increased importance of telecommunication to both developed and developing nations, it is highly unlikely that traditional U.S. approaches to these issues will be sufficient to protect U.S. vital interests in the future.
The main results of the WARC-79 were:
- a substantially modified the table of frequency allocations and the associated procedures designed to facilitate the application of these modifications
- development of new approaches to facilitate access to the spectrum by the developing countries
- decision to convene conferences for planning space services and short wave broadcasting services
- agreement on the expansion of the shortwave spectrum allocated for broadcasting
- adoption of major changes in the frequency allocations for the space services,
U.S. perspective[edit | edit source]
From the U.S. standpoint, the results of WARC-79 were mixed. The proceedings of an administrative conference of ITU are generally geared toward arriving at decisions and adopting provisions that are acceptable to all nations with certain exceptions identified; an ITU member country is entitled to take a reservation indicating that it will not be bound by specific unacceptable decisions of the conference. Therefore, finding a useful way to measure success and to evaluate a country's relative standing following an administrative conference is not easy.