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European Commission - Press release

Digital Agenda: Commission welcomes step forward for wireless broadband with adoption of Radio Spectrum Policy Programme

Brussels, 15 February 2012 - Radio spectrum supports 3.5 million jobs and more than €250 billion of economic activity each year in Europe, including incredibly popular services such as wireless broadband. The Commission therefore welcomes the European Parliament's adoption of the five-year Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP) which will allow sufficient spectrum to be made available for wireless applications and services such as high speed 4th generation (4G) wireless broadband. The RSPP also supports entertainment/culture (mobile TV or wireless electronic books), transport systems, health (such as medical appliances and devices to assist disabled persons), research, civil protection, the environment and energy (including smart energy grids and smart metering systems), without affecting the requirements of other policies such as defence.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "Adoption of the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme will help reduce the digital divide, make Europe a connected and competitive continent and introduce more wireless broadband choices."

Wireless broadband is also playing an important role ensuring every European access to basic broadband by 2013 and to fast and ultrafast broadband by 2020 (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).

Specific steps to be taken by the EU Member States and the Commission before 1st July 2015 include:

  • By the end of 2012, Member States should have authorised the use of the harmonised 2.5-2.69 GHz, 3.4-3.8 GHz and 900/1800 MHz bands for use by wireless broadband communications, including 3rd & 4th generation mobile communication services.

  • By 1 January 2013, all Member States (unless an individual exemption has been obtained before that date), should have authorised the use of the 800 MHz band for wireless broadband communications. One of the main objectives here is to cover sparsely populated areas.

  • By mid-2013 at the latest, the Commission, in cooperation with Member States, will set out the details for an inventory to analyse efficient spectrum use, in the 400 MHz to 6 GHz range, in the EU. This will form the basis of possible further action on the coordinated allocation of spectrum bands to specific uses, such as wireless broadband.

Additional action by 2015 at the latest include:

  • Spectrum trading between spectrum users in a set of harmonised bands where flexible use has already been introduced;

  • The Commission and Member States ensuring sufficient harmonised spectrum becomes available for safety services and civil protection.

More generally, the RSPP sets out the EU principles to ensure efficient management and use of spectrum, and to promote investment, competition and innovation.

Background

The RSPP was proposed by the European Commission in September 2010 (see MEMO/10/425).

The European wireless electronic communications industry supports 3.5 million jobs, 2.5% of Gross Domestic Product and generates around €130 billion annually in tax revenues in Europe.

For more information

Digital Agenda website

Neelie Kroes' website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter

Contacts :

Ryan Heath (+32 2 296 17 16), Twitter: @ECspokesRyan

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)


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