Europe's new multiannual spectrum policy is moving closer to adoption, based on a compromise achieved between the European Parliament and the Council (PDF 112 kb)  in late October and an expedited schedule from the Parliament for final adoption.

The Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP) was first proposed by the European Commission in September last year. Amendments to the EU Electronic communications regulatory framework called for such a multiannual program to set out policy orientations and objectives for spectrum management. The RSPP was originally designed to cover the period 2011 to 2015. With delays in reaching an acceptable legislative compromise, the program will now cover 2012 to 2015.

Essentially, the RSPP is designed to set regulatory principles for the management of spectrum over a several year period. Some of the principles are quite broad, such as a list of regulatory remedies that can be applied to ensure competition (Article 5).  Others are quite specific, such as a requirement to identify at least 1200 MHz of spectrum by 2015 for wireless data, including spectrum already in use (Article 3(b), and a deadline of January 1, 2013, for EU Member States to authorize new services in the 800 MHz digital dividend band (Article 6(4)).

The compromise was reached in the last week of October. The European Parliament committee responsible for the item, the Industry, Research and Industry committee (ITRE) quickly approved the compromise on November 10 and a Council "common position" is expected at a December 12, 2011, meeting. The plenary vote in the Parliament as a whole was moved up to February 14, 2012, much faster than the April date that earlier had been forecast. A successful plenary vote – a foregone conclusion now – should be the final action on the RSPP. After the vote, it will be published in the Official Journal and enter into force 20 days following the publication.