Information and Coordination in International Spectrum Policy: Implications for Thailand
The Radio Regulations (RR) is an international treaty with which the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Member States comply when managing the spectrum to avoid harmful interference. The RR is the outcome of the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) and is based on Member State contributions and negotiations.
Member States must implement the RR provisions carefully. However, national interpretations of the provisions are typically complex, leading to conflicts. Improved knowledge of the rationale behind the provisions would reduce tensions between Member States. Unfortunately, the ITU archives contain only the final input and output documents of the WRC proceedings and RR versions, nothing on the informal deliberations that form the rationale and missing information.
The purpose of this study is to understand the information needs of spectrum policy setting, including the relevant ITU processes and archives (WRC proceedings and RR versions). The study also proposes possible solutions to handling the missing information from the ITU archives in this policy setting.
To address the purpose, the study explores the contents of the ITU archives in terms of the WRC and RR developments. The author attended several meetings to document observations on meeting dynamics. Meeting observations were conducted through national and regional preparatory meetings and the WRC-12 on Agenda Items 1.19 and 1.22. The observations identify the particular form and nature of the information missing from the archives. An analysis of WRC-12 Agenda Items 1.2 and 1.19 from Thailand’s perspective illustrates the gains that would accrue if this information were to be made available.
The main study results are the WRC and RR developments, including key definitions, important provisions, frequency bands in specified services, and the WRC preparatory process. These processes include the agenda-setting and study processes (national and regional activities). Many aspects of these processes are not documented. Using the institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework to understand the decision-making process inside the WRC activities yields a broad list of questions. This list includes questions about action situations. Much of the information that has not yet been documented could improve the resolutions.
To improve the archive resources, the study proposes that an information record form with webcast archives, minutes of meeting below the level of plenary session, and full use of a SharePoint website be completed and lodged with the archives. Member State networking would also provide an option to reduce the information deficit and compensate for Member States that do not attend the relevant meetings.
Enhanced archives and Member State networking would assist Low Income countries and Member States that are unable to participate in meetings due to resource constraints by providing argumentations and issue summaries. Augmented archives and networking would provide a stronger basis for understanding such RR provision changes. Moreover, for issues continuing to the next WRC, Member States would have a basis on which to develop further argumentations.
institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework
Radio Regulations (RR)
World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC)