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International Telecommunications Union

The International Telecommunications Union, 150 years of history

Ever since the 17th May 1865, date on which the first telegraphic convention to manage the first international telegraphic networks was signed, the ITU has been at the centre of all communications related technological advances, from telegraph to satellites, the internet and mobile phones. 

The first international radio-telegraphic convention was held in Berlin in 1906, in particular to regulate wireless telegraphy, of which the first spectacular application was in the sea safety field. At the time, the first Radio-broadcasting Regulation (RR) only covered two wavelengths, 300 m and 600 m, used for maritime radio-communications. 

Two famous shipwrecks showed the effectiveness of marine radio:

  1. Thanks to a wireless call in 1909, 920 passengers were saved by the American coastguards when the Republic and the Florida collided.
  2. The Titanic used the SOS code for the first time in 1912: 700 people, or almost a third of the passengers, were rescued by several ships, including the Carpathia, which arrived on site one hour after the ship sank.

This conference established the “SOS” as the global marine distress signal. At the start of that century, the ITU had 29 member nations.

As a direct consequence of the First World War, the 20s experienced a high increase in both domestic and professional use of radio. It became necessary to list and organise frequency bands to improve efficiency and quality. To accompany this rapid growth, the 1927 Washington Conference resulted in the first frequency distribution table.  The frequency unit at the time was the kilocycle (it was only in 1959 that the Hertz became the frequency unit of measurement). In 1932, to better express the range of its responsibilities, the International telegraphic union became the International Telecommunications Union

In 1947, following the Atlantic City conference, the ITU became attached to the United Nations.  During this conference, which was held from 16th May to 2nd October 1947 (four and a half months), the frequency distribution table was completely revised, as the result of the progress in the uses of radio made during the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War.   The end of the 60s marked the beginning of the first frequency assignments for space programmes (1968).

The very serious RR also provided for possible extra-terrestrial communications. Indeed, n° 5341 of RR article 5 recognises the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence programme. This American programme dating from the 60s, groups together projects of which the purpose is to detect signals an extraterrestrial life form might emit, whether deliberately or not, from its planet of origin.   The searches were located in the 1,400-1,727 MHz and 197-220 GHz bands.

Currently, the ITU has 193 member countries and some 700 private sector organisations. A long way from its first international telegraphy harmonisation works, today its actions cover the entire ICT sector, from digital broadcasting to the internet, including mobile technology and 3D television.  

To find out more:

The WRCs and the ITU-R study commissions

The ITU gathers together 193 member states. It is composed of three sectors: standardisation (ITU-T), telecommunications development (ITU-D) and radiocommunications (ITU-R). The ITU's objectives, structure, organisation and operation are governed by its constitution and its convention which are amended every four years during the plenipotentiary conferences. These two fundamental texts lay down the principles on which the Union is founded, in particular the role it is given to assign the radio spectrum frequency bands and record the uses of frequencies and orbital resources in order to avoid interference between member states.

It is the ITU-R's role to assign frequencies to radiocommunications services worldwide, coded in the Radiocommunications Regulations.

  •   The World Radiocommunications conferences (WRC) meet every three or four years to decide on the changes to be made to the Radiocommunications Regulations (RR) in order to adapt the existing framework to the spectrum needs to develop existing applications or introduce new applications. The RR splits the spectrum into frequency bands that are each assigned to one, or more generally several, radiocommunications services; the RR governs the use that these services can make of these bands.  The RR is a treaty that is binding on the public services that are members of the ITU. Each state has a national frequency plan that carries over and completes the relevant RR provisions for that State.
  •  The ITU-R study commissions, which are supervised by the radiocommunications assemblies that meet jointly with the world conferences, adopt Recommendations that tend towards a certain technical standardisation at the worldwide level. Some of these commission work groups are also in charge of preparing the items on the WRC conference agenda.
  • The Radiocommunications Regulations are the regulatory framework for the spectrum use that is applicable to all ITU member states. It is completed by a set of procedural rules which, when applicable, clarify certain obscure aspects or lift certain incoherences.

The ANFR’s action with the ITU

The Agency takes part in the preparatory works in the study commissions and in the ITU-R work groups and actions, in the CEPT groups and in the inter-regional meetings. It defends the French positions drawn up with the assignees and all the French players in the sector in question in the framework of the advisory commission for world radiocommunications conferences and the radiocommunications assembly advisory commissionn.

  • The WRCs, which last four weeks considering the number and complexity of the studies required by crowded agendas and the high economic stakes these decisions put into play, require much prior work. These are carried out within the ITU Radiocommunications sector (ITU-R) by its work and action groups, under the control of the Conference preparation meeting (CPM) which meets about six months prior to the WRC in order to finalise technical and regulatory studies in the form of a report and to identify options to fulfil the different items on the agenda. The purpose of this report is to help all ITU member states to make proposals during the Conference.
  • WRC preparation also occurs in the context of regional organisations (CEPT in Europe, CITEL for the Americas, APT for Asia-Pacific, RCC for the IEC countries, Arab League, UAT for Africa) and inter-regional organisations through exchanges between those organisations.

Saviez-vous que certaines conditions climatiques peuvent perturber la réception de la TNT, dont le signal est véhiculé par les ondes ? L'@anfr vous explique comment se produisent ces phénomènes que l’on appelle les « propagations exceptionnelles »

L'@Anses_fr vient de publier son rapport sur l’impact de la #5G sur la #santé. A #Mulhouse, ds le cadre de son déploiement, l’@anfr a installé 3 capteurs pour recueillir des données sur l’exposition aux ondes électromagnétiques, consultables en tps réel

ANFR a Retweeté

L’@Anses_fr publie son rapport sur les risques sanitaires liés à la #5G. Cette étude :
✅ Confirme l’absence d’impact sanitaire avéré de la 3,5 GHz
✅ Conforte les choix du Gouvernement sur le lancement de la 5G
📑 Le rapport :

ANFR a Retweeté

Quels effets pourraient avoir la #5G sur la santé de la population ?

Nous publions aujourd’hui nos travaux d’expertise sur le sujet.
Présentation de nos résultats ⬇️ #Thread (1/10)

La #TNT se modernise ! Les téléspectateurs équipés d'un téléviseur connecté à internet conforme à la norme #HbbTV peuvent profiter des plateformes : @Salto_fr (canaux 50 et 51 de la #TNT) et (canal 77).

Faux❌ : le répéteur WiFi émet 0,89 V/m alors que le transmetteur CPL émet à hauteur de 0,06 V/m.
Le CPL établit une liaison filaire entre les appareils du foyer, en passant par le réseau électrique. Il est par ex. utilisé pour le compteur #Linky ou pour connecter une box #WiFi.

#Quizz #MaisonANFR
Selon vous, un transmetteur CPL (Courant porteur en ligne) émet-il plus d’ondes qu’un répéteur WiFi ? 🤔Réponse demain matin !

Le saviez-vous ❓ Le 1er « satellite de télécommunications » Echo I, simple réflecteur, a été lancé en 1960. Découvrez dans cet article l’histoire des constellations de satellites, de l’origine à nos jours

📡 Ils squattent les ondes mais ce ne sont pas des radios. Voici 5 anecdotes sur les #radioamateurs qui célèbrent leur journée mondiale le 18 avril. #Fetedelaradio cc @anfr

ANFR a Retweeté

L'équipe d'@Exem a été honorée d'accueillir ce matin @corinnevignon, députée de la 3ème circo de la H-G. qui a manifesté un vif intérêt pr son nouveau service dédié aux mairies "L'Observatoire des ondes", déjà adopté dans 5 villes pilotes par @anfr
@cedric @gillesbregant @l_amf

MAJ des données #opendata ! Avec le lancement de la #5G sur Ville de Nantes cette semaine, 117 sites 5G sont autorisés dans la capitale des Pays-de-la-Loire, dont 65 déclarés techniquement opérationnels par les opérateurs mobiles -

✈️🆕Episode 3 #LesSeriesANFR sur les équipements à bord des avions. Dans cette édition, découvrez les moyens de surveillance qui permettent de savoir où sont et où vont les aéronefs dans la zone surveillée.

#Lesaviezvous ❓ Le Bluetooth est une techno de réseaux sans fil de faible portée permettant de relier des appareils entre eux sans liaison filaire, grâce aux fréquences radioélectriques. Le Bluetooth et le WiFi utilisent la même bande de fréquences : la bande 2,4 GHz #MaisonANFR

We're now hearing from the regulators at our #WRC23Webinars on the C-Band. We're delighted to be joined by Eric Fournier @anfr, Jose Aguilar @jaguirea @MTC_GobPeru, Daniel Obam @NCS_Kenya, and Tariq Al Awadhi, ASMG & @tdrauae

L’@anfr prend acte de la mise à jour par la société SOURCING ET CREATION du téléphone portable EssentielB HeYou 40, commercialisé par la société
@boulanger afin de respecter les valeurs limites des #DAS localisés « tronc » et « membre ». + d’infos :

📻 L’avenir de la radio, c’est aussi le #DABplus ! Depuis le 13 avril, les Franciliens peuvent écouter jusqu’à 70 radios en numérique. Et l’année 2021 s’annonce riche en déploiements sur tout le territoire. Pour suivre les dernières annonces 👉@DABplusFR #Fetedelaradio

Venez faire un tour dans la nouvelle #MaisonANFR qui informe sur l’exposition aux ondes générée par 72 objets du quotidien. Retrouvez des quizz et anecdotes sur ces objets !

Découvrez dans cette ITW le rôle et les missions de Thomas Welter à l’@anfr, qui travaille avec son équipe sur la coordination et la notification de l’ensemble des réseaux satellites français à l’@ITU. En savoir plus :

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