The European Commission has published the results of its consultation on the report of the future use of the Ultra High Frequency spectrum band (470-790 MHz) that was put forward in September 2014.

The report proposed to make available the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz) to wireless broadband by 2020. The great majority of the respondents were in favour of such a proposal and suggested that an European Union co-ordinated approach, with a common road-map and in a cost-efficient manner were all essential in freeing up the 700MHz band.

The respondents argued that an European Union wide co-ordinated approach would be beneficial because it

  1. reduces fragmentation within member states’ internal markets,
  2. contributes to the harmonisation of the network coverage obligations and
  3. leads towards the establishment of common standards for receivers in the 700 MHz band.

One of the purposes of the consultation and the ensuing report is to enable member states to fulfil their broadband targets while giving broadcasting a clear path to invest by providing clarity and certainty on the future use of certain spectrum bands. It was further emphasised that the co-ordination would be crucial for the co-existence of digital terrestrial television and wireless broadband in cross-border territories.

In addition, cultural and creative industries have also asked the European Commission for guidance on the availability of funding and financial resources needed to cover the costs of

  1. the transition and
  2. the clearance of the 700MHz band that is currently used by broadcasting and other cultural-related services.

There was also general support to promote spectrum-efficient technologies for Digital Television Equipment. However, most respondents rejected the mandatory measures to use specific technology as this would appear to go against the principle of technology neutrality. It was argued that the industry should have the right to choose the most satisfactory and appropriate method of technology.

The European Commission has already launched a study to gather further quantitative data related to the costs and benefits of re-purposing the 700 MHz band and it will make specific proposals regarding the release of the 700 MHz band as part of its Digital Market Strategy.