EU urged to convert TV frequencies to mobile broadband

September 1, 2014
Former World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy's report on the changing face of the media says the 700 Mhz spectrum should be "repurposed" for wireless broadband

The EU should convert a whole spectrum of television and radio frequencies for use by mobile broadband by around 2020 as smartphone use soars, a report said on Monday.

Former World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy's report on the changing face of the media said the 700 Mhz should be "repurposed" for wireless broadband.

But the report, commissioned by the EU in January, said "regulatory stability" should be ensured for broadcasting to continue its current use of the 470-694 Mhz band until 2030.

Lamy, a former EU trade commissioner, told reporters his was "a sort of peacemaking mission" between broadcasters and the over use of the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) spectrum.

He wanted to limit the impact on radio and TV broadcasters while freeing up space for the rapidly growing use of mobile phones and the Internet in general, particularly for viewing content once only available on TV.

EU digital commissioner Neelie Kroes told the same press conference there was a need to "supply enough spectrum for broadband while safeguarding broadcasting".

Lamy produced his report in his own name after presiding over a working group of broadcasters and the broadband industry who, he acknowledged, had "not subscribed to 100 percent compromise".

The report received a mixed reaction.

In Britain, the BBC said the report had recognised that broadcasters could only be expected to clear the spectrum if they receive "certainty of access to their remaining spectrum and compensation for the transition".

The European Broadcasting Union criticised the time frame, saying it was too soon to free up the high end of the spectrum, which did not leave enough time for the modernisation of digital terrestrial TV.

By contrast, GSMA, which represents worldwide, said the date should be brought forward to catch up with north America and Asia.

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not rated yet Sep 01, 2014
Many countries are moving toward 700MHz use for mobile. EU should get on the bandwagon. Very previous frequency---it travels far and penetrates almost all buildings. EU could probably make billions of dollars if they put it up for auction.
not rated yet Sep 01, 2014
It's time that the public got its hands on some of that bandwidth, rather than it being auctioned off, on our behalf of course, to the private corporations so they can fleece us with high costs. With present technology, an Open Source, free, solar powered, self configuring and self healing, multi-point network could be established that would give us all at least texting ability in the event of catastrophic failure, through nature or sabotage, of the commercial system. Unfortunately, corporations now seem to tell the government what to do, rather than the reverse.
not rated yet Sep 01, 2014
Solon--typical liberal spewing. The "government" serves the people, not lords it over them. Corporations compete and are much more effective, efficient, and careful with money than the government. If it is financial decisions, I would trust corporation much more than government.

If the government gives out the spectrum free, then corporations could charge us less. But if they auction it off for $100 billion, then the corporations must charge us to make up for that cost to them.

Basic economics.

not rated yet Sep 01, 2014
But Verkle if the government gives it out for free (as opposed to selling it at auction) then how do you decide who gets the freebie? Draw straws? There isnt enough bandwidth for every corp that wants it so you need some way to decide who gets it and by auction is the fairest way.
not rated yet Sep 02, 2014
I tend to agree. If the competition is not simple, transparent auction, there is danger that only those companies win who use corruption to please individual parliament members or parties.
not rated yet Sep 02, 2014
If the government gives out the spectrum free, then corporations could charge us less.

But they won't, becuase whomever gets the lisence gets a monopoly over the band and they can dictate any price.

So of course they're going to maximize their profits instead of providing a universally affordable service.

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