CS Kyalo – New spectrum allocations key in developing solutions for improved services

Kenya made significant gains at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 that was held in Geneva, Switzerland in November last year.

(ABOVE: ICT and Innovation Principal Secretary Eng Victor Kyalo)

The WRC reviews, and, if necessary, revises the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum.

The conference dealt with a number of important issues ranging from mobile broadband communications and satellite systems to emergency communications and disaster relief, maritime and aeronautical communications, environmental monitoring and climate change, universal time and space research as well as radiocommunication services that the public relies on for health, information, education, security and safety.

The Authority today met with stakeholders to discuss the outcomes of the conference and their impacts on spectrum utilization in the country.

Speaking during the event, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru who was represented by ICT and Innovation Principal Secretary Eng. Victor Kyalo said the new spectrum allocations would be useful in developing solutions for improved services to Kenyans in areas such as universal access to ICT, food security, education, public security and climate change, among others.

To domesticate the WRC-15 decisions, Mr.Mucheru said the government will put in place necessary policies that will support the implementation of the agreements, which would include their incorporation in the review of the National ICT Policy, the National Broadband Strategy and any other relevant policies.

The CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi who was represented by the Director, Multi Media Services, Eng. Leo Boruett, said the outcome of WRC-15 was very favourable for Kenya, the East African region and Africa at large since the region achieved most of its objectives.

‘‘The WRC-15 defined newer and better ways to regulate radio services and applications.  Radiocommunications plays a critical role in connecting people, and I am convinced that the outcome of the WRC-15 will enhance development of ICT industry in Kenya and the world at large,’’ said Mr.Wangusi.

The gains include the setting aside of the UHF spectrum (470MHz-694MHz) exclusively for terrestrial TV services in Kenya well into the next decade to ensure stability and enable the country to continue with the expansion of digital terrestrial TV services without the risk of an impending change in use of the spectrum.

Following the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in 2014, the WRC-15 allocated new spectrum for global flight tracking which is intended to improve flight safety globally for the aviation industry. It will allow operators to determine the position of aircraft equipped with special gadgets anywhere in the world, including oceanic, polar and other remote areas.

With road accidents remaining a global challenge, the WRC-15 allocated spectrum for short-range high-resolution automotive radar in the 79 GHz frequency band. This will provide spectrum in Kenya for automotive radar to prevent collisions and improve vehicular safety by reducing traffic accidents.

The conference also called for greater research to support and protect the needs of persons with disabilities (PwDs) and those with specific needs. This will assist in the development of devices and applications that are useful to PwDs while at the same time promoting compatibility of such new technologies with their needs.

Other notable gains are enhanced maritime port communications systems on vessels for improved navigation safety, improved satellite coordination and notification procedures among others.

The next World Radiocommunication Conference will be held in 2019.The WRC-15 report and highlights of its impact on Kenya are available here.

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