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Brussels, 22nd July 2004

Radio spectrum policy: Commission urges more efforts to free up the air waves for tomorrow’s wireless technologies

The EU’s initiative to free up parts of the radio spectrum for innovative wireless technologies is off to a good start, but will need a sustained effort from EU Member States, MEPs and industry to succeed, says the European Commission in its first annual progress report on radio spectrum policy in the EU. This looks at measures taken under the new telecoms package (in particular the Radio spectrum Decision) to allocate the radio spectrum more efficiently, to expand the single market for innovative new radio-based technologies. These technologies have huge potential to enhance competitiveness and deliver new public services.

”Spectrum is indispensable for the development for a wide range of new technologies and services. Since the introduction of the new regulatory package for telecommunications, the Union now also has a common policy for radio spectrum. It is only through solid co-operation and common work in this field, thatwe can ensure that Europe has a framework in place to allow major industrial breakthroughs to actually happen. ” said Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Olli Rehn. “Harmonisation of spectrum must be encouraged and more effort must be made to resolve radio interference and regulatory enforcement problems that slow the cross-border take-up of wireless technologies”.

Rapid growth in the use of wireless applications highlights the need for Europe to free up more spectrum more quickly. The danger that unilateral reforms of spectrum management could fragment the EU market is driving the development of a common EU-wide approach.

This report to the Council and the European Parliament looks at the implementation of the Radio Spectrum Decision (RSD) since its adoption in 2002. The RSD aims to ensure a functioning single market for radio equipment and services, inter alia by using spectrum effectively, developing spectrum policy to increase productivity via technological innovation, lowering barriers for access to spectrum, and supporting the competitiveness of the EU radio manufacturing and services sectors.

The Commission has set up a Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) to advise it on key aims in the area of spectrum allocation, assignment and licensing conditions. Specific harmonised spectrum solutions have been developed by the Commission together with the Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC) of Member State experts in a number of areas. The first of these implementing measures, harmonising radio spectrum in the 79 GHz range for the use of automotive short range radars throughout the EU, was adopted in the form of a Commission Decision on 8 July 2004 .

The way forward

The creation of an Internal Market for wireless equipment will require a continued close interaction between different regulatory tools, notably between the RSD and the R&TTE Directive , which further harmonises and simplifies regulations for putting radio equipment on the market and into operation across the EU.

The Commission invites Member States to continue supporting EU radio spectrum policies, and welcomes the good cooperation from the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) and standards body ETSI.

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