Is the WRC process still fit for purpose?
Mar 10, 2022 by Toby Youell


TagsITU-R, WRC-23

International spectrum policy largely operates within the framework of the “WRC cycle”. The cycle comprises preparations for, and negotiations at, the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), the forum that reviews the international framework for the spectrum management (Radio Regulations) every three to four years.

The process, as the ITU-R would probably admit, has its imperfections, but reform has proven elusive. In two new Research Notes, we analyse the main criticisms for the WRC. These are:

  • WRC agenda setting is arduous and agenda expansion is placing extra burdens on the already unwieldy process
  • The growing number of Agenda Items related to non-binding identifications for specific applications diverts WRC’s focus on its core mission
  • Long WRC cycles mean that the ITU cannot keep pace with technology and industry developments
  • The WRC consensus model is fraught
  • The imbalance in the number of Member States represented in the ITU’s three regions is biased in favour of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa
  • Politicisation of the WRC process threatens its legitimacy and outcomes

The merits and nuances of each of these claims is discussed in two new Research Notes here and here, available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers as part of the new WRC-23 Dossier.