The United Nations’ World Radiocommunication Conference (“WRC”) concluded late last month, after four weeks of negotiations between 3400 delegates from around 165 Member States, resulting in revisions to the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the global use of radio spectrum and satellite orbits. HWG’s Tricia Paoletta and Damon C. Ladson served as members of the U.S. Delegation.  They were among the very few advocates at the WRC from a law firm, and they played an active role in advancing issues for HWG clients by:
  • providing the legal and policy work for high-altitude platform stations, or HAPS – widely noted as one of the signal achievements of the Conference. The newly identified global uplink and downlink HAPS spectrum will help connect more of the world, particularly in underserved rural communities.
  • providing the legal and policy work that resulted in a global groundswell at WRC-19 for improved international rules for Wi-Fi at 5 GHz, while protecting the FCC’s Wi-Fi rules.
  • helping protect the 6 GHz band for next-generation Wi-Fi 6, as proposed by the FCC last year, against an aggressive push by China.
  • helping secure spectrum and new regulations for an additional provider of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service for the first time ever, which will provide increased maritime safety globally.
  • helping secure guidelines for both Earth Stations in Motion (ESIMs) and non-geostationary Mobile Satellite Service feeder links to operate in the Ka-band.
  • playing a key role in obtaining a WRC-23 agenda item for sub-orbital vehicles, such as space planes and reusable rocket stages.
  • helping secure a WRC-23 agenda item on inter-satellite links for fixed satellites in Ka-band frequencies; and
  • securing a WRC-23 agenda item on digital wide-band technologies for commercial aviation safety-of-life applications, which can vastly improve voice and data transmission for aeronautical safety.
Mr. Ladson and Ms. Paoletta both have extensive experience representing clients and earlier in their careers, the U.S. government, at WRCs and International Telecommunication Union (“ITU”) meetings. Mr. Ladson, a noted advisor on spectrum management and electromagnetic compatibility, has extensive experience in international spectrum negotiations.  He is a veteran of WRCs over the last two decades and advises clients on technical and policy matters and assists counsel in representing clients to prepare for the WRC and other ITU meetings before the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and other Federal agencies.  Prior to joining HWG, Mr. Ladson was Deputy Chief, Planning and Negotiations Division, in the FCC’s International Bureau.  There, Mr. Ladson served as Director of the FCC’s WRC preparations and was also Vice-Chair of the U.S. Delegation to WRC-2000. Ms. Paoletta focuses her practice on international telecommunications, trade, and technology policy, with an emphasis on spectrum, wireless broadband networks, and autonomous vehicles.  She has attended and represented clients at various WRCs over the last 20 years.  Prior to joining HWG, Ms. Paoletta served in several high-level government positions including Majority Counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Director of Telecommunications Trade Policy in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President; and as Senior Advisor to the International Bureau Chief at the FCC.