EC: DSO must aid economic recovery
European Commission wants airwaves freed-up by move to digital TV to work for swift economic recovery
The Commission has set out plans for a coordinated distribution of spectrum that encourages investment and competition in these potential new services. If the allocation of the newly freed airwaves – the "digital dividend" – to new services is coordinated across Europe it could give the economy a boost of E20 to E50 billion. The plan for the realisation of the digital dividend's full potential involves the European Parliament and EU countries, reflecting the major part they have to play.
"The digital dividend is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make 'broadband for all' a reality all over Europe and boost some of the most innovative sectors of our economy. Europe will only make the most of the digital dividend if we work together on a common plan. The Commission cooperated closely with EU countries, the European Parliament, industry and consumers' representatives to prepare such a plan," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "I call on EU countries to speed up the move to digital TV and to make it happen by 1 January 2012. I also urge national authorities to use the digital dividend in a pro-competitive way to open up the market for new operators and new services, maximising the impact on the economy. Only this will ensure the digital dividend is used to bring wireless broadband to parts of the EU where high-speed internet cannot be provided efficiently by other technologies."
The digital dividend proposals adopted by the Commission today ask EU Member States to speed up the switch-off of analogue TV and to complete it by 1 January 2012. Five countries (Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden) and the US have already shown that analogue switch-off can be done quickly.
To maximise the impact of these moves, the Commission said it would harmonise the technical conditions for using the 790-862 MHz sub-band so that the Single Market is not fragmented when EU countries open the sub-band for new services in their country. Service providers and makers of devices and applications can then do business across borders, while consumers will find it easier to use 'roaming' services when they travel.
However, some have concerns about interference in the home if these frequencies are released for mobile use (see below).