The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has received prestigious accolades from the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) for its exceptional efforts in the recovery of satellite resources, specifically impacting Broadcasting Satellite Services (BSS) across 31 African countries.
The awards were presented during an event organized by the ATU on December 14th, 2023, at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunications Conference 2023 (WRC-23) in Dubai, UAE.
Dr. George Ah-Thew, the SADC Senior Programme Officer for ICT at the SADC Secretariat, was also individually honored with an ATU Award for his pivotal role in supporting Member States throughout the recovery process.
The recognition comes in the wake of the successful implementation of Resolution 559 (WRC-19), a historic achievement that allowed administrations with degraded BSS Assignments to replace them with better ones. This resolution, celebrated by the ATU, signifies a significant milestone in recovering lost satellite resources for BSS across the African continent.
The ITU BSS Plan, developed in 1977, aimed to ensure equitable access to Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum and associated satellite-orbit resources, covering the national territory of each administration. Unfortunately, some orbital slots and frequency spectrum reserved for developing countries were degraded due to insufficient resources for proper coordination, rendering them non-implementable.
Resolution 559 (WRC-19) provided a special procedure to assist administrations with degraded BSS Assignments, enabling them to replace the impacted assignments with improved ones. The SADC Secretariat, in response to a call from SADC Ministers in 2019, conducted hands-on training workshops and capacity-building initiatives for Member States, facilitating the preparation of new satellite networks in line with the special procedure.
In February 2020, 55 administrations were identified with degraded national satellite slots in the BSS Plan. Forty-five of these administrations, including all SADC Member States except Angola, successfully applied the special procedure of Resolution 559 (WRC-19) to replace their degraded BSS Assignments.
The successful completion of the application process was marked by the publication of Part B notices in the BR International Frequency Information Circular in April 2023. WRC-23 subsequently approved these Resolution 559 (WRC-19) networks to replace the degraded BSS Assignments in the Plan.
ITU Radiocommunications played a crucial role in the management of the RF spectrum and satellite orbits, ensuring their rational, equitable, efficient, and economical use.
The World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 in Dubai witnessed the agreement of Member States on revisions to the global treaty governing the use of radio frequency spectrum, solidifying Africa’s position as a key player in the global telecommunications arena.
Source: SADC News