Releasing the 700 MHz band for mobile broadband will figure among the next proposals from the EC’s telecoms reform package, said Andrus Ansip, the EC vice president for the digital single market.
In a blog, the EC chief (pictured) emphasised how the commission must move fast on its Digital Single Market (DSM) proposals, which were passed by the European Parliament and member states last year.
“Of course, nothing will – or can – happen overnight. But it is important now to get things moving: if these proposals are to become reality, especially before the end of this Commission’s five-year term in office, speed is of the essence,” wrote Ansip.
Last month, the commission presented the first two DSM proposals on standardising consumers’ digital contracts across the EU and ensuring portability of legally acquired content when Europeans cross borders within the EU.
Ansip then outlined next steps with the DSM package, starting in early Spring. Next are three industry-facing initiatives – one on the use of 700 MHz, a second on the cloud and another on ICT standards.
The Lamy report in 2014 found that the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz) used by terrestrial broadcasters and wireless microphones should be repurposed for wireless broadband across Europe by 2020, give or take two years.
These three proposals will be followed by a package of new rules on e-commerce, including legislative measures to tackle unjustified geo-blocking. “I firmly believe that people and businesses should not be restrained by barriers when they shop or sell online,” wrote Ansip.
Other proposals in 2016 will include further reform of Europe’s telecoms laws, more on cyber security and on promoting the free flow of data. There will also be more this year on the subject of copyright, as the EC set out in a strategy paper last month.
Meanwhile, Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, was speaking today at the DLD 16 conference. Among the subjects she covered was privacy. In particular, she focused on the sharing of data and how a range of ‘free’ social media is available to users if they are willing to share personal information as a form of currency.
“This new currency brings its own challenges. It isn’t always easy to know what it’s worth. The exchange rate between data and services isn’t reported on the news,” she said.
She said the commission is working to ensure consumers are protected when they use free services, referencing its past action on Microsoft’s takeover of Skype or the EC proposal on digital contracts adopted last month that was also mentioned by Ansip.