Neelie Kroes has given the strongest signal yet of the European Commission’s support for the transfer of TV spectrum to broadband providers.
The European Commission vice president with responsibility for the Digital Agenda told the 7th Annual European Spectrum Management Conference in Brussels that the growing demand for wireless connectivity meant that even more spectrum needed to be freed up.
“Spectrum is a unique resource: but a finite one; it doesn’t grow on trees. And so we’ll need to be creative and innovative in seeking it,” said Kroes. “Already, early signs show that out there, there is substantial suitable spectrum; and we can get at it just by using it more efficiently, or by re-allocating the unused and the under-used parts.”
A policy programme will set out current use and how future demand can be met. Kroes said that this could only be undertaken from the European level. Shared access would allow current holders that were under utilizing their capacity to monetize their asset.
Earlier this year the World Radio Conference surprised industry observers by starting a process expected to lead to the allocation of the 700 MHz band to mobile services alongside broadcasting.
“I want us to reach a consensus on the long-term use of the 700 MHz band. And to do that we need to have a discussion on the spectrum needs for broadcasting as a whole…. Let’s move away from the old, sterile fight about Broadcasting versus Broadband, and examine more forward-looking scenarios.”
Cable Europe, part of the European Forum for Spectrum Coexistence, has released a white paper on spectrum, Coexistence: The Missing Element in Current Spectrum Policy.”
In a statement the organization offered its support to the Commission’s objectives. It said increasing numbers of radio services had increased the complexity of spectrum policy coordination across Member States. “This poses a challenge for coexistence between equipment and services for both consumers and businesses.
It said policy making needed to ensure ongoing compatibility between new and existing devices and services and to avoid, potential interruption of service due to unwanted interference.