Study of Market-based Exclusive Spectrum Rights

Annex 2 – What is Meant by Telecommunications?

Telecommunications Act: Section 2

Confusion often arises when one speaks of telecommunications. As defined in Section 2 of the Telecommunications Act, "telecommunications" means:

"the emission, transmission or reception of intelligence by any wire, cable, radio, optical or other electromagnetic system, or by any similar technical system.

"Radiocommunications" or "radio" is defined in Section 2 of the Radiocommunication Act as:

"any transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence of any nature by means of electromagnetic waves of frequencies lower than 3 000 GHz propagated in space without artificial guide."

Broadcasting is defined in Section 2 of the Broadcasting Act as:

"any transmission of programs, whether or not encrypted, by radio waves or other means of telecommunication for reception by the public by means of broadcasting receiving apparatus, but does not include any such transmission of programs that is made solely for performance or display in a public place."

The relationship between radiocommunications and telecommunications is even more starkly presented in their definitions in the ITU Constitution (provisions CS 1009 and CS 1012 respectively) where telecommunication is defined as:

"any transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems."

and radiocommunication is simply defined as:

"telecommunication by means of radio waves."

Thus, radiocommunications and broadcasting are, in fact, sub sets of telecommunications and yet when most people use the term "telecommunications", they are really referring only to those undertakings which provide communication services to the public such as cellular, wireless access, etc. To avoid confusion, for purposes of this report, the term "telecom" will be used when referring to this narrower subset of telecommunications.

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