EU demands freeing up 800 MHz spectrum by 2013

The EU has demanded that all members free up up radio frequencies at 800 MHz by 2013 to ensure a comprehensive roll out of high speed mobile broadband.

As part of the radio spectrum policy programme, MEPs announced that all member states would be required to have certain spectrum bands available for 4G services – and need to get a move on.

According to the EU, this will be a boost for business in Europe, and allow mobile data users to freely move between different countries.

Radio spectrum is used by a wide range of appliances such as mobile phones or even remote controls, running from 9HHz up to 300 GHz.

There are specific frequencies which are being set aside for use with 4G connections.  One of the main bands which will need to be freed up to ensure rolling out high speed broadband is at the 800 MHz range.

This is the frequency at which analogue television signals have been broadcast, and a big push is set to ensure that there is no interference.

In order to comply with EU requirements it will be necessary for member states to free up the spectrum by 1 January 2013.   According to the EU many member states are yet to do so, awaiting the switching off of analogue signal this year to ensure spectrum is free.

In the UK, Ofcom is currently conducting the allocation of spectrum which has been freed up for use in the 800 MHz range, though the analogue signal has not yet been switched off.

A government Culture, Media and Sports committee in the UK last year highlighted the importance of Europe-wide compliance.

The committee claimed that “internationally harmonised spectrum is crucial for mobile operators”, as it “allows users to cross international borders and maintain mobile coverage”.

Broadband expert at uSwitch Ernest Doku agrees that unified access to 800 MHz will be beneficial for business in Europe.

“MEPs have recognised that telecoms holds the key to business growth in Europe, and the EU’s goal – to ensure that member states are pioneers in mobile broadband and enjoying the fastest speeds on earth – is incredibly exciting for technophiles,” he told TechEye.

“If all member states adopt this initiative, mobile internet users travelling within the EU will notice significant improvements in their browsing experiences.”

It is now up to Ofcom to ensure that the freeing up of the spectrum goes to plan.

“The pressure is now on Ofcom to ensure a smooth and rapid transition once the 800 MHz band is freed up after the digital switchover,” Doku said.