The European Commission announced its intention to support spectrum sharing across EU member states, arguing: “If we run out of spectrum then mobile networks and broadband won’t work”.
The watchdog noted that with new technology enabling the sharing of spectrum between users – and also with “white space” frequencies potentially available for other purposes – “national spectrum regulation often does not reflect the new technical possibilities”.
The Commission said that a co-ordinated European approach to spectrum sharing will “lead to greater mobile network capacity, cheaper wireless broadband, and new markets such as tradable secondary rights for a given spectrum allocation”.
Nellie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe (pictured), said: “Today’s proposal is an essential part of the solution to dealing with the wireless crunch – without interfering with existing rights or downgrading quality of service, but rather by using new technical possibilities to create a secondary market for spectrum rights.”
As the first measure in a new European Union Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, national regulators have been called on to monitor and “potentially” extend harmonised internal market bands for licence-exempt use; and to foster consistent regulatory approaches across the EU for shared rights of use, which give “incentives and legal certainty” to all users (current and new).
The Commission noted that new guidelines “need to give different users, including current holders, guaranteed rights to use a given frequency band on a shared basis with guaranteed levels of protection against interference.”
The regulator is now seeking support from the European Parliament and European Council to create this “more advanced regulatory environment in Europe”.