EU throws support behind wireless-broadband rollout

EU politicians have backed a package of telecoms measures to help create a wireless broadband service that could work across Europe

EU politicians have backed measures to help create a wireless broadband service that could work across Europe.

The European parliament has backed a package of telecoms measures designed to simplify the rollout of EU-wide services, such as wireless internet and mobile TV, using the spectrum previously taken up by analogue TV and radio broadcasts.

In a vote today, the EU parliament adopted a report saying that states should reserve the same parts of the spectrum for the same types of services to ensure they work across the continent.

The move echoes calls by European commissioner for information society and media, Viviane Reding, earlier this year for the UHF spectrum to be allocated for WiMax mobile broadband use once the analogue signal is phased out.

The parliament also said that national regulators should be allowed to impose functional separation, where telcos' wholesale and retail units act as separate entities, to ensure they offer a fair access deal to their networks — a model BT adopted with the creation of its Openreach access services unit. The parliament added regulators should only countenance such a measure if it is the only way to ensure fair competition.

It also agreed to set up a new European wide telecommunications regulator called the Body of European Regulators in Telecommunications to help ensure fair competition and high-quality services, but said it should not take over tasks related to network and information security.

It follows calls by the European Commission on Tuesday to cut mobile data-roaming charges in Europe.

Any changes agreed by the EU parliament will need to be backed by national governments before becoming law.