U.S. Delegation to the World Radiocommunication Conference Press Conference

Ambassador Decker Anstrom, Head of Delegation
Ambassador Decker Anstrom, Head of Delegation

Transcript of the U.S. Delegation to the World Radiocommunication Conference

Press Conference with

Ambassador Decker Anstrom
Head of Delegation to the World Radiocommunication Conference

Ambassador Philip Verveer
U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy

Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling
U.S. Department of Commerce

Chairman Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission

Commissioner Robert McDowell
Federal Communications Commission

Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Beaird
International Communications and Information Policy

Palais des Nations,
Geneva, Switzerland,
January 23, 2012

 

Ambassador Verveer:  Thank you, Monica.  It’s a pleasure to be here and I thank the press for your interest in this.

I’d like to begin by pointing out the obvious, which is that when we talk about radio frequencies we’re talking about a set of assets where cooperation and agreement among the nations of the world is not just desirable, but essential.  That makes these approximately every four year conferences extraordinarily important.  Underscoring the importance, of course, is the enormous commercial, scientific, cultural and other values that radiofrequency enables.  So this conference as with all of the WRCs is one that has enormous import for everyone in the world.

As Monica said, I’m very pleased to be joined here by colleagues, and I’d like to quickly do a kind of brief introduction of them.

Ambassador Decker Anstrom is the head of our delegation.  He is a man who has had a very distinguished career in government, in the private sector, and has accomplished a great deal among other things as the Chief Executive Officer of the Weather Channel and as the President of Landmark Communications, an organization that’s had a wide variety of media interest.

Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling is the head of our National Telecommunications and Information Administration.  Larry is an attorney.  He has a background in government at the FCC back in the 1990s, served with great distinction as the Assistant Secretary and as an attorney was both with one of the most important of the Chicago law firms and also served with private telecommunications companies.

Chairman Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is a man who has likewise, prior to his service as Chairman of the FCC, served in the FCC back in the 1990s.  He has the distinction of having been a Supreme Court law clerk, which only the very best and smartest of law students can aspire to, and also had considerable time in the private sector with Barry Diller’s far-flung dot-com activities.

We’re also joined by Commissioner Rob McDowell of the FCC who is a long-serving member of the Commission and somebody who has been a real leader in terms of the kinds of issues that we’re talking about today.

And by my Deputy Richard Beaird who is a person who has probably served in ITU-related capacities for the United States, you can strike the word probably.  He has served in ITU-related capacities in the United States longer than any other official.  An absolutely invaluable colleague and a great source of knowledge.

So we’re very very pleased to be here with you, and I’d like to turn over the microphone to Larry Strickling.  Sorry, to Decker, I beg your pardon.

Ambassador Anstrom:  Thank you, Phil.

I’d also like to just briefly extend my greetings and thanks for you all being here this afternoon for the United States Delegation to the World Radio Conference 2012.  This represents the culmination of many months of preparation and we are delighted to be in Geneva for the next month to work with other administrations on the very challenging agenda that will be before us.

We’ve had many very significant bilateral discussions with many administrations across the globe over the past six to ten months.  In particular we come from the United States with strong support and collaboration from our inter-American colleagues in North, Central and South America.

There are obviously many vital issues on this agenda.  I’ll just highlight briefly several that are very important from the United States point of view.  Our priority objective for this WRC-12 is to set the framework for an important debate that will take place between now and the WRC-2015 about how the world will allocate more spectrum for mobile broadband services.  This is a pressing need in the United States and we find it’s a pressing demand by many other administrations across the globe.

Our fundamental objective here is to ensure that the studies that will move forward over the next four years look at all possible options and that no bands are excluded from the studies that will take place over the next four years, and we also are very anxious to focus on the goal of global harmonization.

I’ll pause on this item and Chairman Genachowski and Assistant Secretary Strickling will address that because they’re the real leaders on this initiative in the United States.

Briefly, several other high priority items for the United States.  There’s a very important item on the agenda related to setting the framework for the evolution of unmanned aircraft systems.  In this case this effort is focused very specifically on civilian applications of these unmanned aircraft which represents significant new and exciting opportunities.  Which as some of you have heard from me before, range from activities in Japan in which unmanned aircraft studied and analyzed the nuclear disaster site, to Costa Rican efforts to look at volcanoes, to the increasing use of unmanned aircraft, to fly-in to severe weather situations to determine the course of a particular storm.

The Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S. will lead this review and this process here in Geneva.  It’s a set of complex issues.  We hope we’ll make some progress on them here.

We also have a very important maritime issue on the agenda which will set the stage for the transition from analog to digital technology for marine communications that we think will create new opportunities.

And there’s a new exciting item related to new earth/space  exploration which will really set the stage for the next generation of space research and the post-shuttle era, both manned and robotic flight.

Finally, as always with one of these World Radio Conferences, there will be a very extensive agenda related to the management and regulation of the satellite arc, an important function of the ITU as many of you know.  The U.S. has three significant goals with respect to this process.  First is to make the registration processes for satellites more effective and transparent.  Second, to preserve member states’ rights with respect to the operation of their frequency assignments.  And third, to improve the quality and transparency of the Master Satellite Registry.  We look forward to working very closely with other administrations on those goals.

So we’re delighted to be here, we’re excited to get started.  What I’d like to do now is turn it over to Larry who will offer some particular perspective on the U.S. broadband priority.

Larry?

Assistant Secretary Strickling:  Thank you, Ambassador.  And I would like to confine my comments to the mobile broadband item here before the conference.  And in particular, to provide some context as to how it fits into an effort we’ve had underway in the United States for the last two years to be identifying and allocating additional spectrum to mobile broadband services.

In the summer of 2010 President Obama directed my organization, the NTIA, to work in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission to identify 500 megahertz of spectrum that we could reallocate do mobile broadband services.  I’ll let Chairman Genachowski tell you about the efforts underway at the Federal Communications Commission in respect to this initiative.

Our focus first working with the Commission was to identify about 2200 megahertz of spectrum as candidate bands that we wanted to evaluate in terms of their suitability for reallocation.  Then right out of the gate we focused on a number of bands where we wanted to look to determine if we could recommend a reallocation of some spectrum that wouldn’t even require any relocation of the federal agency users that were occupying the bands.

And I guess maybe at the outset for those of you who aren’t familiar with American regulatory procedure, in the United States my agency, the NTIA, handles the allocations of spectrum to federal agencies.  The Federal Communications Commission handles the assignment of spectrum to commercial entities and other government entities, so that’s the split that exists in our government.  So as part of our effort we’ve been focusing on federal agency use of spectrum and where we might be able to reallocate.  Through this initial effort we made in the summer of 2010, we identified about 115 megahertz of spectrum that we felt could be reallocated to mobile broadband without requiring any relocation of the federal uses in those particular bands.

Since then we have been involved in an evaluation of another 95 megahertz of spectrum.  It’s in the range 1755 to 1850, where we have over 3,000 federal agency assignments across a number of very complicated federal systems.  Things from fixed microwave circuits to very complicated air combat training systems.

We’ve completed our review of that band and we are in the course of having our report and recommendations reviewed by the other federal agencies prior to the release of that report.  Hopefully shortly.

But all this I think points out that even as we continue to work to meet the President’s goal of 500 megahertz, the issue is ongoing and it’s not going to be settled even after we complete our work on the President’s order.  This conference here is going to provide an important opportunity to continue forward to identify additional spectrum internationally that could be allocated to mobile broadband.

What’s important to understand is that at this conference what we are seeking is the adoption of a resolution to put this issue on the agenda of the next conference scheduled in 2015.  But there is a tremendous amount of work that will need to be done between now and 2015 in order to have the type of discussion we’ll need to have with other nations of the world at that time.

The point is we’re reaching a point where the idea of actually clearing bands of existing users and then making them available for the exclusive use of the commercial industry is becoming less and less of an option, and we’re heading for an environment where wireless broadband is going to need to coexist in the same bands with other operations.  This type of environment will raise technical issues that are going to require careful study to develop innovative spectrum-sharing arrangements.

So as we look ahead to working with the rest of the world to identify bands that are appropriate for mobile broadband there are two important conditions for success.

First, we think it will be important for the conference participants here to take a broad approach to the mobile broadband agenda by not restricting the frequencies, the individual bands that would be considered even before the studies begin.  We are concerned that to the extent that we try to focus in on this band or that band, that the incumbent interests will find ways to take their bands off the table, thereby limiting the evaluation and the investigation that needs to take place.

Similarly, we feel strongly that in order for the conference in 2015 to make informed and credible decisions we need to ensure that all of the stakeholders are at the table. It’s really up to this conference to meet that need by setting up a process whereby all stakeholders will be able to work together to identify the spectrum for mobile broadband respecting the incumbent users’ requirements.

So overall we have other issues that are important to us.  This is the one at NTIA we’re very focused on, but we’re looking forward to a productive conference and to working with our colleagues from around the world.  Thank you.

This is my cue to hand this over to Chairman Genachowski of the Federal Communications Commission.

Chairman Genachowski:  I think we’ve established, I’m not sure if these are wired or wireless communications links that we have here.

Let me first acknowledge and thank Ambassador Decker Anstrom for taking on this role.  It is a great deal of work that started at least many months ago if not more, and on behalf of all of us we appreciate very much the willingness of Ambassador Anstrom to step up and lead this effort.

I want to thank my colleagues here on the stage for all of their work.  Ambassador Verveer and Assistant Secretary Strickling. I want to thank and acknowledge my colleague from the FCC, Commissioner McDowell, who has been very active on these issues and we appreciate that.  And I do want to acknowledge the great work of the staffs of the various agencies that are represented here — the State Department, NTIA, FCC, Madell Dilatory who leads up our efforts at the FCC as Chief of the International Bureau who is here.  There are other people who work very hard on these issues which are both very important and very complex.

At the last World Radio Conference the iPhone had just been introduced.  Smart Phones were a new idea.  The tablet, the iPad and other tablets had not yet been introduced.

Today as we sit here in 2012, last year alone there were about 500 million Smart Phone subscription devices sold around the world.  There are now about one billion Smart Phone subscribers globally.

When the World Radio Conference reconvenes in 2015 after this, that number will be at least double.  There are projections that by then we will have hit five billion global mobile broadband subscribers.

We already know the extraordinary opportunities that this technology represents for driving economic growth, for advancing education, health care, public safety, and more.  And it makes the agenda item for WRC-15 that my colleagues have discussed, extremely important.  Extremely important to the United States, I believe extremely important to all members of WRC in the ITU, and very important that countries work together to seize the opportunities of mobile broadband.

It’s worth focusing for a minute on what the challenge is.  Smart Phones, mobile broadband devices place a demand on spectrum, on radio frequency that is a lot more than the devices that preceded it.  Not 10 percent more, 20 percent more, not even 50 percent more or double.  An averagely used SmartPhone places a demand on spectrum that’s 24 times more than the feature phones that preceded it.  Tablets place a demand on spectrum that’s about 120 times more.

So the efforts to improve the efficient use of spectrum and to free up more spectrum for mobile broadband and to look at a new generation of innovative policies including spectrum sharing are incredibly important, or in both the United States and around the world, we risk losing out on enormous economic and social opportunities.

In the U.S. my colleague Assistant Secretary Strickling mentioned some of the agenda items that we’re pursuing together.
I’d like to also mention that we’re working together on an initiative that we call incentive auctions, a new mechanism to reallocate spectrum from older uses to new uses.  Like auctions and unlicensed spectrum in the past, it’s a new policy innovation that we expect should and will become part of the tool kit for countries around the world in addressing the opportunities and challenges around spectrum.

So again, this agenda item for WRC-15 is very important, I believe, for all countries involved.  I’m glad to see, as we all are, that countries in Europe and Asia Pacific and elsewhere have made similar proposals.  I was pleased that last week the ITU Radio Communication Assembly approved the IMT Advanced Standard. We will all benefit from global harmonization of standards when it comes to mobile broadband.  There are of course other issues on the agenda that my colleagues have mentioned.

I look forward to working as part of this team with the great staff, with other countries, toward a successful WRC-12.

Thank you.

Moderator:  I’d like to thank all of the members of our delegation for their brief introductory remarks and putting in context the importance of the work that’s being discussed at the World Radio Communications Conference.

Now we’d like to open the floor to questions.  If you can each introduce yourself with your name and your outlet before you ask your question.  Thank you very much.

Question:  Daniel Pruzin, the Geneva correspondent with BNA in Washington.

I was wondering if I could follow up on the remarks about this meeting here isn’t really the meeting to decide about the spectrum allocations.  It’s more preparation for 2015.  But is there something on the table at this meeting that is a concern?  You talked about perhaps some people trying to withdraw a certain spectrum before the date began.   Do we see any of those moves being made at this meeting?

Panelist:  Let me just address that briefly.  The specific question will be in the formulation of this study process that will take place between 2012 and 2015.  One of the questions that will be addressed by this conference will be what specific bands should be examined by the study groups over this three and a half year period?

The U.S. position I think as we’ve all indicated is that all bands should be looked at by the technical experts to determine whether they’re appropriate either for allocation, or as Assistant Secretary Strickling identified, for sharing.

Some regions and administrations have said yes, we’d like a number of bands looked at but we don’t want you to look at this band or that band over the next three and a half years.  There will be some debate about that.  So it’s in that context that our comment was made.

Is that helpful or did you have a follow-up on that.

Question:  Briefly a follow-up.  Could you elaborate which regions are talking about walling off certain areas of spectrum?

Panelist:  There’s one specific proposal that comes from the Russian Federation in which they would like bands only looked at below three gigahertz in terms of their review.  That’s their preliminary recommendation on this.  There are other suggestions.  It’s certain frequencies that are used for sea band satellites, should not be looked at during this process.  Again, part of what will happen during the conference is there will be a discussion about whether some of those limitations should ultimately be part of the final study resolution or not.

Question:  [Inaudible] a few questions. I may venture raising one although I arrived five minutes ago.  Boey Engelson. I am a local freelancer.

When broadcast was invented it was a greatly forward, vis-à-vis wide communication.  Telegraph.  And now we have fibers, what you call optical fibers which probably have liberated a lot of bands in your industry.

So besides ships and satellites, who still needs allocation?  I mean radio band allocation.

Panelist:  The general rule in the United States, we have been moving steadily toward more flexible uses and fewer restrictions on spectrum.  So that trend is an important one and it’s one of the reasons that as the WRC does its work for the future, as Assistant Secretary Strickling said, taking a broad approach is important.  We know the trend.  We can’t predict specific uses.  So the general trend toward flexibility makes a tremendous amount of sense.

There will be specific areas where specific allocations will make sense, but as a general rule the default should be increased flexibility, increased market based allocations of spectrum, particularly in the commercial area.

Panelist:  From my perspective, looking at the federal agency use of spectrum, we see their needs growing, not declining.  Again, the federal agencies use spectrum for all manner of missions that they’re conducting.  So large-scale radar systems use a lot of spectrum.  So it’s not just satellites, it’s not just ships.  Airplanes have a lot of needs for spectrum as well.  We are seeing through again the technological advances of the last several years, if anything federal agencies are finding more and more ways to take advantage of using spectrum in their missions.

The unmanned aerial drones that Decker talked about a few minutes ago, to the extent those are flying over hurricane areas or tsunami areas, those didn’t exist ten years ago or whatever.  Again, a totally new use of spectrum that didn’t exist before.

Question:  How do you see the issue concerning the media?  Twenty years back it was a big issue, allocation of radio spectrum and TV spectrum, but today probably it is a less crucial issue.

Panelist:  We’re finding that mobile broadband is capable of distributing video, audio, text data and is becoming a platform to distribute many different kinds of communications.  One of the reasons that we’ve proposed the incentive option mechanism in the United States is that it allows for reallocation of spectrum for new flexible mobile broadband uses and creates the opportunity for entrepreneurs, innovators, to develop uses that best serve the market, that best meet goals that every country has in a broadband world.

Question:  Catherine, Canal 24 French Program.

I’d like to have some details about the management and the regulation of the satellites.  Assistant Secretary Strickling said that you would like to have more details on the registration, member states’ rights for, if I understood well, the 2015 conference?  Is that for the 2015 conference that you would like to work out certain points?  And you’ve said that you worked with different administrations.  Could you please be precise on that?  Could you give us names of administrations you’ve been able to work with on the issue of satellites?

Panelist:  I think that was actually the point I made in terms of going through, in terms of the list of the priority issues for the United States.  Again, specifically to your question, one of the agenda items that will be considered at this conference over the next month will be possible changes to the existing regulation and management of the international satellite system.  So there will be, some people actually refer to this as a conference within a conference.  There will be more than 20 separate issues that will be looked at having to do with how satellites are managed by the ITU.  Again, from the U.S. perspective, we are interested in streamlining the operation of how that system operates, perhaps eliminating some of the unnecessary paperwork and other requirements that any regulatory system creates.  We want to make sure that while we streamline the system that we also protect member states’ rights to regulate the satellites that they license.  This is really a matter for individual nations, not for an international body.  And that we also want to then improve the transparency of the registration so that people know which satellites have actually been registered here in Geneva.

In terms of your question about which administrations we’ve worked with, it would be a long list.  We’ve had more than 50 bilateral discussions.  Certainly we met with man of the European nations who of course are major players in the international satellite system as well as nations in Asia, Latin America, Africa and elsewhere.

I think if there’s a nation in the world that is involved in managing satellites, we’ve probably talked to them about these issues.

Again, I think there’s a general view that going back to the origins of the satellite system internationally that this process gets fine-tuned at each conference and that’s part of what we’ll be doing here in Geneva over the next four weeks.

Is that helpful in terms of your question?

Question:  Yes.

Question:  William New at Intellectual Property Watch here in Geneva.  I have two separate types of questions, one more to the area that you’re speaking about on studies.

You say the U.S. has not reserved any area from study.  It’s completely open for any area that it’s responsible for for study of spectrum.  What does being studied or not studied assume?  It doesn’t assume any outcome.  It doesn’t assume any allocation.  It’s simply an analysis as I understand it.

Then an entirely separate question, more on the intellectual property side which occasionally comes up in these conversations, is there anything on the agenda or at least from the U.S. perspective related to content or perhaps even piracy issues as it pertains to this meeting?

And I might as well throw a third question on the table if it’s relevant.  IPV-6.  Is there any discussion or decision or action that needs to be taken or even education that needs to take place in this environment on that issue?  Thank you.

Ambassador Anstrom:  Let me take the first one, then Phil, you and Dick might want to decide, or if Larry and Julius want to get into this.

On the first question that you asked about what it means to be a band that’s actually studied or not studied.  Again, this is in the context of the point that both Larry and Julius laid out very clearly which is the United States believes with the coming spectrum crunch in terms of the demand for spectrum exceeding the supply for spectrum, given the growth of mobile broadband, that we need to look at other bands either for outright allocation for mobile or for sharing with mobile services.

Our view would be that every band that technologically might be possible for meeting that need should be looked at and studied.

Now the results of this process will be part of the ITU study process which is handled by various working groups.  Those studies make recommendations, they identify options, and those options then will be the basis for the WRC-15 to decide what allocations to make.  So that’s specifically in the context of the mobile broadband issue.

But really to go to the point Chairman Genachowski made a moment ago, what we’re struck by and one of the reasons the U.S. has taken this position is technology is moving so quickly that things you would have thought even a year or two ago, how could you imagine mobile services being delivered above five gigahertz.  I’m told, Mr. Chairman, your office is now getting applications above six gigahertz in terms of certain people looking at applications.

So we don’t want to end up restricting these studies given how quickly technology and innovation is moving forward.

With respect to the other two questions, I would defer to my colleagues who might want to pick either of those up.

Assistant Secretary Strickling:  Let me say that on the issue of content and piracy. In general it is our view that these kinds of questions are outside of the ITU’s expertise.  The ITU is a valuable, indeed indispensable organization with respect to transmission and transport kinds of issues, but not content issues.  So I don’t anticipate there will be anything relating to that.

On IPV-6 similarly, I don’t think this conference is going to take us into the realm of IPV-6 which is, quite plainly, a very important subject in its own right.

Dick, would you like to add anything to that?

DAS Beaird:  Thank you very much.

With respect to IPV-6 and the transition from 4 to 6, that has been the subject of some considerable study at the ITU with the participation of the regional internet registries and the Internet Society, as well as officials of governments and other private sector participants looking at the issue, talking about it, and developing general views on that transition and the requirements that will be involved during the transition.  That’s a separate activity at the ITU.  That is not being addressed at the WRC.

Question:  Are there any sessions, particularly worth attending on-site for journalists?

Moderator:  I’m sorry, could you clarify, for what?  And could you identify yourself again?  Thank you.

Question:  Engelson, a local freelancer.

The conference lasts for one month so we are not going to attend each open session for one month.  So maybe some specific topic or specific format will be more adapted to the needs of the media.  So is there any workshop or symposium or session which responsible journalists should not miss?

Panelist:  I would always hate to try to provide advice to any journalist, but maybe two things.  One is the U.S. delegation will hold a series of briefings throughout the conference and Monica will provide information on that.  Hopefully those will be helpful for journalists in terms of at least how the U.S. views these things.  We would very much like to be accessible and available throughout the conference.

Secondly, Dick, my recollection is and please correct me if I’m wrong here, that several of the plenary sessions will be open to the media as I recall from the discussions today.  You might want to elaborate on that for a moment.  Those, of course, will provide a good insight into what the overall conference is doing as opposed to very minute details of a particular regulatory discussion.  But Dick, you might want to elaborate on that.

DAS Beaird:  Provision has been made for certain of the plenaries to be open to the press.  I would encourage you to contact the ITU press office to get further details on exactly what those arrangements may be, and perhaps your colleagues in the room will be able to give us all more information on that.  But I do know as a matter of procedure that some of the plenaries will be open to the press.

Secondly, I would encourage you to visit the CCV offices across from the conference itself, because you have exhibits there not only from our own NASA but also the GSMA on advanced IMT has exhibits and conversations and information for you.  I would encourage you to look into that possibility as well.

Question:  Scott Billquist with Com Daily Satellite Week and World Radio Communication Report.

Two questions.  One is what has the reaction been to the U.S. domestic proposal to use 1695 to 1710 megahertz for mobile broadband?

Number two, what is the reaction to the ASMG, African proposals to look at more spectrum below 790 megahertz for mobile broadband, specifically GSMA started this, or mobile operators started this hunt for a new spectrum with the idea that harmonization was needed, and so the question I guess is, is there a concern that a move by these two regions could further fragment rather than harmonize the spectrum for mobile broadband purposes?  Thank you.

Panelist:  The NTIA recommended the reallocation of 1695 to 1710, which as you pointed out is a band that is, first off it’s larger than just those 15 megahertz, but it’s a band in which weather satellites and weather balloons, radiosons operate.

In making our recommendation, we did not intend to recommend the relocation of any of those existing operations.  We felt that the services that might be offered by mobile broadband providers in that 15 megahertz could coexisting meteorological operations in that band without major modifications.

Nonetheless, when the FCC put it out for public comment there were concerns raised by various entities.  I don’t have the list in front of me of who commented and exactly what they said, but there were some concerns raised.  But since we weren’t proposing to change any international allocation, we didn’t think anything we were doing was going to disturb the existing operations, we don’t think it presents the kind of challenge to international harmonization that perhaps might arise in a different context when you were trying to eliminate an existing type of service from an allocation.

Julius, do you have anything you want to add from the FCC review of that?

Panelist:  I think with respect to your second question in terms of your proposal by the Arab and African groups to operate within an existing agenda item on the conference to accelerate the allocation of spectrum below 790, maybe a couple of points from the U.S. perspective on that.

The first is, it’s clear that it’s a legitimate subject of discussion about whether that item is within the technical ambits of that agenda item.  Having said that, there certainly is ample precedent for other conferences dealing with issues of the day.  And from the U.S. perspective the interest in Africa and in the Arab world of moving more quickly to meet their needs for more spectrum for broadband as the source of demand grows that Julius I think outlined so eloquently earlier, that’s an aspiration that the U.S. would be quite sympathetic to.  Our view is that in fact it would enhance global harmonization because of course there are a number of allocations below 790 already, and as you all also know, obviously global harmonization certainly contributes directly to the economies of scale and scope which will lower cost and increase access for mobile services.  Again, precisely then to the educational, the social, the economic, and the health goals that mobile broadband provides.

I think it’s our observation as we’ve listened to administrations around the world that increasingly people view mobile broadband as a vital national infrastructure, and in this case we have regions of the world who are ready to go, who do not have the incumbent terrestrial broadcast infrastructure to deal with in their region, and we are hopeful that this issue will be worked out in a constructive and positive way at this conference.

Obviously it doesn’t directly affect the Americas region, but we think it has big implications internationally for accelerating the development of mobile broadband.

Question:  Just a follow-up, does the U.S. support that move at this conference?  It’s an allocation being made —

Panelist:  Again, I want to be careful with my words on this, Scott.  There’s not a specific proposal in front of the conference at this point.  That procedural question needs to be worked out.  As you know, that issue was joined in the first plenary session this morning and it is not an issue that directly affects region two, but I would underscore again that the United States is very sympathetic to the goals that the Africans and the Arab states have in this regard.

Moderator:  We have time for one or two more questions.

We have one from the phone

[Inaudible] in Dubai.  If there will be any information on dialogues with other countries on internet governance specifically.

I think we’re focused more specifically on this conference.

Let’s open the line and have her clarify.

Question:  The question is, I know this conference represents an opportunity to speak with other countries about the internet governance issues that will be dealt with in Dubai in December and what power the ITU should or shouldn’t have in regulating the internet.  If anybody on the call can enlighten me as to some of the conversations with other countries, where that stands in that process and what might be accomplished this week with that negotiation process.

Panelist:  First, in conferences like this there are always opportunities to meet with officials from other countries.  We have made an effort to schedule some of these meetings in part to actually raise questions that have to do with the World Conference on International Telecommunications that will be held in Dubai in December.  It’s also I think fair to observe that these issues of internet governance are a constant item of discussion in virtually all of our bilateral and multilateral engagements with other countries.  It’s a very important subject.  It’s one that we have very fixed views about, and we try to be energetic in terms of putting those views forward.

I don’t know, Dick, if you have anything you’d like to add to that?

DAS Beaird:  The only thing I would add is that coincidentally there are meetings that took place last week and carrying over for Monday and Tuesday in Geneva that relate very directly to the preparation for that conference. But I want to emphasize, they have been separate from the World Radiocommunication Conference.  They just happened to be in the same facilities overlapping the first week and a half.

As a result, inevitably there are some spillover conversations taking place between delegations as a result of the coincidence of the scheduling of the two meetings.

Moderator:  Do we have another question from the phone lines?  Otherwise we have one from in the room.

Question:  Daniel Pruzin again with BNA.

I was wondering if you could, you mentioned the issue of satellite orbital slots being raised at this meeting.  We’ve heard a lot about the overcrowding of space and the need to manage better how this is done.

What issues are being addressed specifically at this meeting on that issue, and what is the outcome the U.S. is looking for from this meeting?

Panelist:  It’s a very broad question and I hate to totally defer on it, but let me just say there are a couple of important issues I think that are being looked at.  One is a question of defining the whole question of what does it mean to bring into use a satellite which has been an issue that of course the Radio Board has been looking at.  There are other issues about the appropriate process to use for suspension of satellites. There are others that have to do with coordination procedures, so there are a range of issues. Again, as I indicated, there are more than 20 issues on this agenda.  We’d be happy to follow up with you off-line if you’d like to pursue some of those more specifically.   The U.S. obviously has a position on each of those.  It’s been quite transparent in terms of the U.S. web sites and we also have one pagers available externally that would summarize our position on those.

Question:  Just a follow-up to my previous question regarding the ASMG and the African Group proposal.

The U.S. has I think in its proposal for that agenda item has not, is not looking to identify, if I understand it correctly, just looking for a mobile allocation and not necessarily for identification for IMT.  As I understand those two other groups are looking for an identification for IMT.  With that sort of caveat, there was also a difficult discussion in the European Group early on.

Is there any concern about, is it moving too quick for IMT for identification?  IMT is not exactly technology neutral, it’s not a technology neutral approach to mobile communications, and there are other ways to do mobile broadband that are coming up.  That’s my question, thank you.

Panelist:  That will be part of the discussion over the next four weeks.

Moderator:  On that note I’d like to say thank you to everyone for coming.

 

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