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MEMO/08/725

Brussels, 19 November 2008

"Europe Needs More Ambition in Radio Spectrum Policy": Joint Statement by EU Telecoms Commissioner Reding and Dániel Pataki, Chairman of the European Regulators Group and newly elected Chairman of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group

Today, radio spectrum regulators from all 27 EU Member States and Commission experts met in Brussels in the framework of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) – an advisory group on radio spectrum set up by the Commission in 2002 – to discuss the spectrum policy priorities for 2009. After the meeting, Dániel Pataki, Head of the Hungarian Regulatory Authority, Chairman of the European Regulators Group and newly elected chairman of the RSPG, discussed his policy priorities with Commissioner Viviane Reding in a bilateral meeting, with a special focus on the strategic approach to the digital dividend and the "broadband for all" policy of the European Commission. On this basis, Dániel Pataki and Viviane Reding made the following joint statement:

"1. Radio spectrum is a resource of tremendous economic, societal and cultural value. Radio spectrum is the basis for important services such as broadcasting, mobile communications, wireless broadband, navigation and public safety. Especially in these times of financial crisis and its broader economic repercussions, an efficient use of radio spectrum and the maximisation of its potential benefits is therefore a prime responsibility of policy-makers and regulators in charge of radio spectrum, whether at national or at European level.

2. Radio spectrum is property of the EU's Member States. However cross-border coordination will facilitate making the most use of its economic, societal and cultural benefits. This is why radio spectrum policy in Europe requires a close cooperation among national authorities and the European Commission.

3. 2009 will be a decisive year for radio spectrum policy in Europe. In 2009, Europe will have to take important decisions with regard to the best possible use of the digital dividend. Between 2010 and 2012, all EU countries will progressively switch off analogue transmission of TV and switch over to digital transmission. As a result, tremendous spectrum resources will be become available for new usages. Europe needs to be prepared for this.

  • We believe that to maximise the benefits of the digital dividend, ambitious decisions will be required from policy-makers at European and at national level.
  • The digital dividend could allow Europe to extend its leadership in electronic communications services, thereby creating growth and jobs for all Europeans.
  • The digital dividend could allow Europe to bridge its digital divide. 7% of Europeans are still not connected to broadband Internet, a situation that can change by an efficient use of the digital dividend.
  • The digital dividend will also allow new high-quality TV channels, thereby making a strong contribution to media pluralism, cultural diversity and technological innovation.

4. The EU Telecoms Commissioner and the Chairman of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group will closely work together in 2009 to ensure that the digital dividend will allow Europe's spectrum-based industries to flourish in the interest of growth, jobs and consumer choice. In close consultation with the European Parliament, an ambitious roadmap should be developed in the first half of 2009 to allow Europe to benefit from a digital dividend as soon as possible.

5. The EU Telecoms Commissioner and the Chairman of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group agree that spectrum policy coordination could guarantee swift and efficient regulatory outcomes. They also agree that regulatory independence is crucial for ensuring fair and objective regulation in the interest of effective competition and consumer interests."

For further information:

On the Commission's radio spectrum policy:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/current/radio_spectrum/index_en.htm

On the Radio Spectrum Policy Group:

http://rspg.ec.europa.eu/

Video : "What is Radio Spectrum?"

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/videos/radio_spec/what_is_rs.swf


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