Saturday, August 28, 2010

The IT-Who?

T1B01: What is the ITU?

  1. An agency of the United States Department of Telecommunications Management
  2. A United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues
  3. An independent frequency coordination agency
  4. A department of the FCC

The correct answer is B–A United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues.

(Authority: 97.3(a)(28))

I touched on this topic back when talking about T1A02. The International Telecommunications Union, or ITU, is a very important entity in the broader scheme of radio regulation. The ITU is an agency of the United Nations that deals with information and communication technology; prior to being adopted into the United Nations it was a treaty organization that dealt primarily with the cooperative regulation of telegraphy and other uses of radio across international borders. As radio signals
have a bad habit of refusing to stop at national boundaries, this is
pretty much necessary, especially with respect to the world-reaching HF
bands, in which a station in South America can easily interfere with a
station in Russia. The ITU's rules do not apply directly to amateurs, or indeed to anyone; rather, the ITU makes recommendations which member nations are encouraged to adopt.

The ITU has a significant influence over amateur radio; in their role of creating the International Table of Allocations, they set aside the spectrum that virtually all countries will reserve for amateur radio operators. An example of how the ITU influences amateur radio arose at the World Administrative Radio Conference (a quadrennial meeting of the ITU) in 1979 that resulted in the so-called "WARC" bands of 30 meters, 17 meters, and 12 meters being opened up to amateur use. The United States has historically been one of the most aggressive protectors of amateur radio at the ITU; few nations have as solid a history of arguing in favor of protecting amateur radio spectrum at the international level.