At a press briefing y esterday to herald the start of the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) in Geneva, members of the U.S. delegation joined FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly in emphasizing the importance of achieving globally harmonized spectrum allocations for mobile broadband networks, which Wheeler described as “the most powerful and persuasive platform in the history of the planet.”

WRC-15 opened Monday with delegates from 160 nations in attendance, and the event will continue through November 27 . WRC-15 is expected to set the stage for future fifth-generation (5G) wireless services through the development of agenda items on 5G spectrum allocation to be voted on at the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference. U.S. delegation chief Decker Anstrom, U.S. State Department communications and information policy coordinator Daniel Sepulveda and other U.S. officials affirmed that the identification of additional near-term spectrum resources for mobile broadband ranks as a top priority for the U.S. Toward this end, the U.S. intends to pursue the adoption of Agenda Item 1.1 which proposes mobile broadband allocations in the UHF 47 0-698 MHz band—with the exception of the 608-614 MHz band in International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Region 2—while retaining primary allocations for broadcasting in the 47 0-890 MHz band. Other U.S. priorities include (1) the establishment of a regulatory framework to allow existing satellite networks to be used for command and control of unmanned aircraft sy stems “bey ond line of sight,” and (2) the adoption of rules and procedures to govern global flight tracking.

As Sepulveda told reporters that WRC-15 “provides an unusually rich opportunity for the [International Telecommunications Union] to promote the growth of wireless telecommunications and aviation technologies,” O’Rielly predicted that “the decisions we make at this WRC will set the stage for mobile communications for decades to come.” Adding that the WRC “is off to a good start,” Anstrom noted, “we’ve started a good dialogue, and these issues will mature over the last three weeks of the conference.”