EC to push for more mobile spectrum

The European Commission will propose a plan to reallocate spectrum from analogue television to mobile broadband as the spectrum frees up through increased digital switchover

The European Commission is to propose that European states allocate part of the broadcast spectrum to mobile broadband next week over a portion of the spectrum used by most television stations.

On Monday, the European Commission (EC) will ask the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers to make a ruling that will force member states to allocate the 800MHz spectrum to wireless broadband services, for use with mobile devices. The deployment deadline would be 1 January, 2013.

"Until now member states have jealously guarded the right to allocate frequencies," European digital agenda spokesperson Jonathan Todd told ZDNet UK on Monday. "We want to introduce more coordination of frequency allocation policies to make sure that there's sufficient spectrum available in all [member] states."

The plan is for all countries to reassign the 800MHz 'digital dividend' spectrum sub-band — which comprises the 790-862MHz portion of the radio spectrum — from television broadcasting to wireless broadband services, as member states make the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting services, according to EC documents.

The pan-EU decision will aim to adopt more coherence in spectrum allocation in Europe, making sure that a fair share of the digital dividend for the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting goes to wireless broadband, Todd said.

The groundwork for the migration of radio spectrum used for TV to mobile broadband has been laid by legislation, including the Telecoms Reform Package.

In May 2010, the Commission adopted a decision that made it mandatory for member states to implement a series of "harmonised technical rules" that supported mobile broadband deployment, if they decided to change the existing frequency allocation of their 800MHz spectrum.

At the time, the European Commission's digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "This decision paves the way for implementation of innovative broadband technologies and for the fast growing demand for wireless services to be met."

Cornwall is in the process of trialling the delivery of mobile broadband services over its 800MHz spectrum, as the region of the trial underwent the analogue-to-digital switch in April 2009.


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