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EU proposes more radio spectrum for mobile broadband

21 сентября 2010

The European Commission has proposed allocating more available European radio spectrum for wireless broadband and other wireless services by the end of 2012, it said Monday.

Promoting wireless broadband has been one of the commission's key objectives, regarded as boosting new technologies as well as bringing faster broadband connections to people living in remote areas.

Radio spectrum is becoming available due to a switch from analog television broadcasting to digital, but the commission has been concerned that in some member states the freed-up bandwidth might be used for more regional broadcasting rather than new mobile services.

Instead, the commission wants European Union countries to allocate freed-up radio spectrum to mobile operators that can then build new fourth-generation, or 4G, networks, allowing users to watch high-definition videos on mobile devices and to receive and upload data faster than before.

Germany is so far the only EU country to have made the broadcast spectrum available for mobile broadband. The government raised EUR4.38 billion from auctioning off the available spectrum to mobile operators.

In the U.K., national telecoms regulator Ofcom has said it aims to hold the radio spectrum auction by the end of 2011.

Specifically, the commission wants EU countries to give licenses to operators to use spectrum bands of 900/1800 megahertz, 2.5 gigahertz and 3.4 GHz to 3.8 GHz, all of which have already been technically harmonized for the use of wireless broadband. In addition, EU countries should open up the 800 MHz band to wireless broadband by Jan. 1, 2013, with possible derogations allowed until 2015 in exceptional cases.

Services that rely on the EU's radio spectrum represent 2% to 2.5% of annual European gross domestic product, or more than EUR250 billion, according to an EU study.

The commission has said in the past that by allocating part of the radio spectrum to wireless broadband services, Europe can benefit from the analog switchover by an additional EUR20 billion to EUR50 billion over 15 years.

The commission also made recommendations for the financing and risk-sharing on laying down new ultra-fast fiber-optic broadband networks. It wants to ensure that smaller competitors can have access to the networks at non-discriminatory prices, while providing financial rewards for those larger telecoms companies that are likely to put up the money in the first instance.

"Europe needs both investment incentives and competition to get these high-speed and modern networks rolled out," said telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Although telecom operators have to make huge investments to deploy the networks,"we cannot take the risk that this fundamental transition may lead to a re-monopolization of telecom networks, losing the benefits that competition has brought so far," she added.

The commission's proposals need the approval of European telecoms ministers as well as the European Parliament before they can come into force.

Источник: Total Telecom

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