Regional Radiocommunication Conference – revision of the Stockholm Agreement, 1961

The first session of the Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC) for the revision of the Stockholm Agreement, 1961 in the frequency bands 174-230 MHz and 470-862 MHz, will be held in Geneva, from 10 to 28 May 2004. The Council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) decided in the 29th of June 2001, by Resolution 1185, that a Conference should be convened, consisting of two sessions separated by about two years.

The Stockholm Agreement, 1961 (ST61), is an ITU regional agreement for the European Broadcasting Area (EBA) and rules the current terrestrial TV broadcasting service in Europe1

In Portugal and in Europe in general, a situation of congestion of the spectrum reserved for the terrestrial TV broadcasting has been realized, which has prevented the effective development of the service in terms of additional coverages and introduction of new technologies. This situation is the result of the reduced spectral efficiency associated with the analogue television systems subjacent to the ST61 Plan.

As a result of the digital technology development for TV broadcasting, as for instance the European standard DVB-T ? Terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting (with advantages as compared with the analogue technology, not only in terms of spectral efficiency but also in terms of a larger service offer), a trend emerged at European level during the 90?s, for the preparation of the conditions that would allow a transition from the current analogue situation to a future fully digital situation.

From this point of view, there was a need to develop means that would allow the revision of the ST61 Agreement, so as to have a coherent frequency plan for digital television feasible in Europe.

For that purpose, the first session of RRC was convened with the mission, among others, of preparing a technical report that would be the basis to the planning exercises aiming at establishing a new regional agreement, which will be developed during the second session of the Conference, foreseen for the end of 2005. 

Since in Europe there is also, within the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), a frequency plan for the terrestrial digital sound broadcasting (T-DAB) in the band 174-230 MHz (the Wiesbaden Agreement), the RRC will plan the DVB-T and the T-DAB in this band, while in the bands 470-582 MHz and 582-862 MHz only the DVB-T will be planned. Thus, the T-DAB allotments already planned within the CEPT countries, that are to be ensured in the future, should be transferred to the new plan arising from the RRC.

Note that, in terms of planning principles, the European administrations consider very important the basic principle of equitable access to the spectrum, and so a similar number of radio coverages for all involved countries should therefore be ensured. Besides, the new Agreement should have, as far as the analogue television is concerned, regulating provisions that would ensure protection of the stations during the digital-analogue transition phase.


1 Resolution 1185 was later modified, the planning area having been enlarged to all member states in Region 1, on the north of parallel 40oS as well as on the west of meridian 170oE, and also to a Member State of Region 3, the Islamic Republic of Iran.