Opening Notes B08 Conference - HFCC Chairman

Ladies and Gentlemen distinguished guests. It is my pleasure to thank very much on behalf of all of us to Mr. Boris Boyarskov for his opening words.

I am sure that we have all been looking forward to an HFCC/ASBU Conference in the Russian Federation for quite a long time. It is all the more important to say how much we appreciate the recent decision of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media and of the Federal Service for Communications and Mass Media headed by Mr Boyarskov for inviting our conference to Radisson SAS Slavyanskaya in Moscow. We know that the Moscow hotel costs and rates are not the lowest in the world. That is why we are grateful for the resources the administration of communications of the Russian Federation have invested into the conference and into its funding.

Let me get back for a while at least to our last Plenary Meeting in Kuala Lumpur: Because of discussions on other matters we did not pay much attention to a meeting with the ITU we held there together with the partner co-ordinators in the region of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. The Minutes from that Meeting of managements of HFCC, ASBU and ABU were issued with a delay but now you are able to access the document on the Intranet of this conference.

The Meeting noted that global web-based system run by the HFCC was in place for the on-line updating of frequency schedules of international broadcasting. Co-ordination has been on-going also between conferences and the resulting changes can be accessed and viewed by all participants.

What was quite important was that the ITU joined the effort for the elimination of so-called wooden requirements that still remain in the lists of some of frequency management organisations. It was decided to conctact those organisations on an individual bases and keep this subject on the agenda of the Plenary Meetings of co-ordination conferences.

The effort of HFCC, broadcasting unions and of some administrations to get more spectrum for international radio failed during the last ITU World Conference in 2007. However the Kuala Lumpur Meeting asked the ITU for the clarification of the impact on broadcasting of changes in the 7 MHz band that have resulted from an earlier World Radio Conference back in 2003.

Radiocommunication Bureau of the ITU followed up on their promise from Kuala Lumpur by a detailed circular letter issued in April 2008. The letter is already on the HFCC website. The changes - which are quite complex - and at least in part are beneficial for broadcasting - will enter into force already by the end of March 2009. This means that we should take them into account during the preparation of the schedules for the next A09 Conference in February 2009- that is planned for Tunis.

Our "Man in the Regulatory Arena" Geoff Spells will chair the conference discussion touching on these changes in the spectrum, which is combined with Monitoring matters, later during the week. Geoff also submitted on behalf of the HFCC a draft New Question to the ITU Study Group 6 expressing the need for continued studies on shortwave broadcasting. This was not needed as a resolution of the World Radio Conference 2007 calls for these studies to continue. The project should be completed in 2011 and it should update the original information on the HF broadcasting service prepared by the HFCC for the ITU World Conference in 2007.

Most of us believe that the future of shortwave broadcasting is digital. The globally approved DRM system received a boost during the 2007 world conference since it has been officially endorsed by the ITU for radio in the tropical regions of the globe. Tropical broadcasting is capable of covering large local areas by near vertical reflections from the ionosphere, and we believe that any application of DRM for domestic broadcasting should speed up the transition from AM radio to digital.

There has also been a promising trend in the digital receceivers in that the receiver circuits have started to be designed around a module capable of decoding both DAB and DRM and other modes for example. It seems that at least in Europe this development is under threat now:

The EBU, in conjuction with the European Association of Consumer Electronics Manufacturers (EICTA) and WorldDMB,(this is a group promoting the DAB standard), have started working on the harmonisation of digital receivers. Digital receiver profiles have already been drafted and unfortunately the DRM and AM modes have been labelled as «optional» only. We have already contacted the EBU and Horst - who has just become a member of the DRM Steering Board as our important link to the consortium - is in touch with his colleagues on this. There is a Digital Radio Survey in progress in the EBU and we will come up with a proposal in the Plenary Meeting on Thursday on how to help improve the current situation.

We are encouraged by the ongoing interest in shortwave co-ordination. Participants from Belorussia are at the conference for the first time and have applied for the membership, and there are at least three applicants for associate membership. Colleagues from South Africa, Algeria and Israel have joined us after a couple of seasons again and we have a nice overall participation of colleagues from the countries of Arab States Broadcasting Union.

I would like to return to the conference preparations. I am sure that there would be no Moscow conference without the personal dedication and effort of Mr Valery Naslednikov, Director of GRFC and his Deputy Leonid Mikchelevskyi. We have been in close touch with the Leonid's team including Alex Bochkovskiy, Inessa, Alexei, Sergej, Galina, Olga, Roman and Victor...and also Vadim Zhukov and his co-workers from the TKB Service. I would like to thank them warmly for all the work done during the conference preparation.

Thank you for your attention!