EC Forms Group To Determine Future Of 470-790 MHz Spectrum

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Vodafone, BBC and others form spectrum group to establish use for UHF band

European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has announced the formation of an advisory group to establish proposals for the future use and regulation of 470-790 MHz for TV and wireless broadband.

The group will be headed by former director general of the World Trade Organisation Pascal Lamy and comprises a number of European broadcasters, operators and mobile companies, including the BBC, Vodafone and EE’s parent companies Orange and Deutsche Telekom.

Its findings will be used to help the commission develop, in cooperation with member states, a long term strategic and regulatory policy for the band. Kroes says she wants the group to work quickly and hopes to publish a final report in July 2014.

UHF spectrum

Europe cloud - Shutterstock: © BMJ“Europe needs to use spectrum more effectively if we want to benefit from the latest TV and internet developments,” she says. “That’s why we need a new consensus on how to use broadcast spectrum, and that’s why I made the coordination of broadband spectrum a central feature of our effort to build a telecoms single market.”

Specifically, the group is tasked with establishing potential developments in audio-visual technology, discovering how to balance the financial implications of such technology with the need to secure public interest, and determining the regulatory role of the European Union.

“The TV viewing habits of young people bear no resemblance to that of my generation,” adds Kroes. “The rules need to catch-up in a way that delivers more and better television and more and better broadband. Current spectrum assignments won’t support consumer habits of the future – based on huge amounts of audiovisual consumption through broadband and IPTV.”

UK regulator Ofcom recently said it had identified a number of spectrum bands that could be used for mobile broadband, that when combined with other developments such as 5G, could increase the UK’s mobile capacity by more than 25 times by 2030.

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