PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN TELECOMMUNICATION COMMISSION (CITEL) TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
September 22, 1995
In response to your letter dated August 25, 1995, I have the honor to include herewith a report on the program the Interamerican Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) has made in implementing the Summit of the Americas Action Plan, as well as an overview of the future plans to follow up with the Summit decisions.
Hoping that the work that CITEL was able to accomplish is satisfactory, I remain at your disposal if for any reason I can be of assistance.
Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.
Juan de la Cruz Silveira Zavala
CITEL was expressly asked to: in coordination with the sub-regional telecommunications organizations, develop and carry out a work program to:
-- Evaluate regulatory, technical and legal means to promote liberalization, common standards, interoperability of networks and compatible use of the radio spectrum.
-- Examine ways to promote greater consistency of the certification processes for telecommunications equipment among member countries.
-- Develop regional guidelines for the provision of international value-added network services.
Support a meeting by 1996, coordinated by CITEL of senior telecommunications officials to conduct further discussions of the above actions.
CITEL was fortunate in regard to the Summit of the Americas in that its Permanent Executive Committee (COM/CITEL) had been scheduled to meet the week following the Summit. This allowed CITEL to put into place, almost immediately, a program specifically intended to support the overall objectives of the Summit.
COM/CITEL took action in three areas: 1) provided specific guidance for the completion of CITEL's Strategic Plan for the next five years taking into account the Action Plan adopted by the Summit of the Americas; 2) directed the Permanent Consultative Committees (PCCs) to place emphasis an those activities that best fulfill the objectives of the Summit; and 3) held the first of which Is anticipated to periodic coordination meetings with the ITU to ensure that the program of activities of both organizations for the Americas were complimentary and not overlapping.
Standards Coordination: PCC.I has had this activity under way for three years and in response to the Summit they have scheduled specific tasks. Work has been completed on three Standards Coordination Documents (SCDs) which represent a pioneering achievement for coordinated standards in the region of the Americas. The principal results of the Standards Coordination group are:
a) A resolution on 2 GHz Personal Communications Services (PCS)/Wireless: Combined with the decision taken at the PCC.III meeting last month in Mexico involving making specific spectrum available for PCS development and implementation in the Americas. This agreement is of particular significance because it means that the Americas will work together in ensuring the benefits are brought to all member countries;
b) A resolution on Signaling System 7 (SS7): Adoption of this document has its significance, in the fact that as all Member States progress towards the implementation of a digital telephone network in their countries, the interconnection of the systems will be much simpler and less costly; and
c) A resolution on Narrowband Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): Agreement in this area, similar to the Signaling System 7 decision, will make future progress in getting all Member States integrated into the Global Information Infrastructure (GII) much simpler and less costly. PCC.I is also working on a SCD covering intelligent Network (IN) which is viewed as another step forward towards implementation of the GH in the Americas.
In addition to these two program already underway, PCC.I initiated two new activities in response to the Summit directives. These are concerned with equipment certification procedures used by Member countries and Value Added Services. In both areas, working groups were formed, chairpersons were identified, work programs were established and outputs scheduled. The U.S. government provided CITEL the services of an expert for a three-month period to assist in initiating the work of the Ad Hoc Group on equipment certification. The expert's services were used to research the certification procedures presently employed in Member Countries.
ITU Conference Preparation: PCC.III that is concerned With Radiocommunications has underway a program to, improve the coordination and cooperation between Members in the preparatory process. This is a critical element process to bring the now services, offered by the evolving technologies, in a timely fashion so that the economies of the Member countries can benefit from implementation of these services. Such cooperation and coordination assist in the allocation of portions of the radio frequency spectrum to the evolving technologies. Without such allocations, new services and systems can not be built and operated outside of Individual countries.
Here also the U.S. government made available the services of a consultant to assist in the initiation of a data collection system on frequency spectrum utilization. An automated system was developed which is simple, easy to use and has the capability to be an effective tool in the data collection area. The computer program is being distributed to member countries along with a user's guide. The program was demonstrated at the CITEL meeting held in Mexico in August, and was well received. The meeting set a target data for member countries to send their spectrum usage information, covering a limited portion of the frequency spectrum, to the Executive Secretary who will collect all the input data in a data base, sort it and report back to the committee. This information will utilized the preparatory activities for ITU conferences in their endeavors to ensure the compatible use of the radio frequency spectrum throughout the Americas.
CITEL has established coordination mechanisms through which the Permanent Consultative Committees be working on issues of joint interest such as standards coordination, equipment certification procedures, the development and implementation of the new technologies such as wireless Personal Communications Services (PCS). As regards to PCS, CITEL took a significant step forward by agreeing to adopt in the Americas the frequency band 1850-1990 MHZ for the use of PCS services. It is envisioned that this decision will help to ensure roaming capability throughout the Americas and provide users with a choice of venders and lower cost of wireless telephone units. At the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference this year, CITEL countries will be proposing that the 1850-1990 MHZ band be allocated to the PCS services on a global basis.
Blue Book: The Legal working group of CITEL is currently engaged in the revision of the Blue Book, a joint activity undertaken with the Development Bureau of the ITU, which contains "Recommended Telecommunications Policies for the Countries of the Americas". The revision will contain descriptions of experiences of Member Countries regarding privatization and/or liberalization of their telecommunication facilities and will be available in December 1995.
MSS Seminar: PCC.III held a seminar in August in Mexico City on the definition of the Mobile Satellite Service and the regulatory Implications for Member countries. The regulatory issues revolving around the introduction of the MSS services are among the highest items attracting attention In the CITEL countries. The response from Member countries to the seminar was beyond the expectation of the organizers.
CFTEL is planning a seminar for March 1996 which wilt cover the new broadcasting services and their regulatory implications.
CITEL is also engaged in a joint program with the international Branch of the American Bar Association and the Inter-American Bar Association to define the differences in Administrative Procedures between CITEL Member Countries. A detailed outline of the report of the working group and its structure for this task- is available.
1996 Meeting of Senior Telecommunication Officials
CITEL was directed to coordinate the holding of a Summit follow-up meeting for Senior Telecommunication Officials and has sent a Circular Letter to Member countries requesting their inputs regarding the agenda for the meeting, the timing, duration and the role of the private sector. Replies are due at the end of September. It is anticipated that the agenda for the meeting will be officially established at the meeting of the Permanent Executive Committee of CITEL in December. All member countries arc being encouraged to participate at the meeting in order to have a voice in setting the agenda. The meeting will most likely be held in the second half of 1996.
Each of the Permanent Consultative Committees will be reporting at the 1996 Meeting of Senior Telecommunication Officials on the progress they have achieved regarding the directives received from the Summit.
Coordination: with international and sub-regional Telecommunication Organization
As a result of the Summit, the Executive Secretariat has placed additional focus on the need to establish and maintain better and closer coordination with the ITU, INTELSAT and INMARSAT on an international level, and with the sub-regional telecommunications organizations in the Americas. Several initiatives have been undertaken in this regard. The first of what is hoped to be a periodic meeting was held with the ITU in March of 1995 primarily to ensure that the resources being spent in this region were being utilized to bring the maximum benefit for Member and nor supporting overlapping activities.
The Summit has caused increased emphasis being placed on efforts to ensure that the Caribbean countries are active participants in all the activities of CITEL. Much, progress had been made prior to the Summit and additional effort is being expended to their concerns are factored into the priority programs of CITEL and that they have ample opportunity to participate in the leadership and management activities.
CITEL has had a working relationship with ASETA, AHCIET and COMTELCA for many years, but as a result of the Summit an attempt is being made to have these organization take a more active role in CITEL activities. A memorandum of Understanding is being negotiated between CITEL and AHCIET to bring about this new working relationship. CITEL is also engaged in a similar negotiation with INMARSAT at the present time.
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