Koh appointed to lead US presence at ITU’s WRC

Grace Koh will lead the U.S. delegation to the International Telecommunications Union’s World Radiocommunication Conference 2019, which will be held this fall in Egypt.

Koh has private sector experience in technology, legal and regulatory policy and recently served as special assistant to President Donald Trump on technology, telecom and cybersecurity policy at the National Economic Council. Koh left her White House position last February; she previously served as deputy chief counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. She is working on WRC’19 preparation as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Communications and Information Policy.

WRC ’19 will take place from October 28 to November 22 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The World Radiocommunication Conference is held every three to four years and is the major international forum for debating and making changes to treaties governing the global use of spectrum — it will determine just how globally harmonized future wireless networks are, in terms of their spectrum use, and it has particularly important implications for rural broadband and 5G, according to the GSMA. Items on the agenda for WRC-19 include a number of proposals regarding the use of satellite-related spectrum and services, but also consideration of spectrum bands between 24.25 and 86 GHz (the GSMA supports the use of 26 GHz and 40 GHz for 5G) for future networks, and a possible harmonization of spectrum in existing allocations for intelligent transportation systems.

The State Department noted in announcing Koh’s leadership role that WRC-19 “is expected to address many current and important issues, including spectrum management, next generation mobile broadband systems, and global satellite services” and is “is a significant opportunity to advance United States’ interests related to telecommunications, innovation, economic growth, and national security.”

Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and National Telecommunications and Information Administration head David Redl said that his agency will be working with Koh on issues surrounding global spectrum use in preparation for WRC-19 and that her help ensure America is best positioned to lead in development of 5G, satellite, and other future communications technologies.”

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai called Koh “exceptionally well-qualified” and said that her work “will be critical to ensuring that American leadership in 5G, satellite, and all advanced communications services continues.”

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