On the global stage, EUTC, in partnership with other regional utility associations made significant progress developing a report on Utility Radiocommunications Systems at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) meeting held in Mexico in May 2023. All 193 United Nations (UN) Member States are entitled to attend meetings, and because reports have to be built on a consensus basis, progress is naturally fairly slow. However, the simple fact that radio regulatory bodies from around the world are discussing the importance of utility telecoms is encouraging and raises awareness of the need for access to harmonised radio spectrum for utility operations.
The ITU-R (ITU Radio Sector) Delegation is lead by the Utilities Telecom & Technology Council America Latina (UTCAL) in collaboration with the Utilities Technology Council based in Washington DC, together with EUTC to ensure a global perspective to match the UN mandate. The report now contains an increasing number of National Annexes to explain how utility radiocommunication requirements are met in different countries. EUTC is able to reflect the interests of utility organisations in ITU Region 1 which includes Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The importance of this work cannot be understated as telecoms and radio regulators around the world take their lead from the ITU, a process which culminates with their 4-yearly World Radio Conference, the next one taking place in Dubai in November 2023.
The most significant development at the last meeting of the ITU-R Working Party 5A (WP5A) which is developing the Utilities Report was the combining of work on Public Safety and Utilities in a new Working Group WP5A-3 which will deal with all ‘Mission Critical Applications’.
The next meeting of the Working Group will be in Geneva in September 2023 when it is anticipated that the Utilities Report will be elevated to the next status level of its drafting.