Former World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy has suggested that the 700 Mhz spectrum, currently used for some TV and radio frequencies, should be ‘repurposed’ to allow for mobile broadband.
Presenting his report to the EU Commission, Lamy said: "For too long the broadband and broadcasting communities have been at loggerheads about the use of the UHF spectrum band. There have been many different views and perspectives. On the basis of discussions with the two sectors, I have put forward a single scheme that could provide a way forward for Europe to thrive in the digital century."
He suggested that freeing up the frequency will allow more access for the use of mobile phones and the Internet in general, as use of smartphones soars worldwide.
The 700 Mhz frequency is used for terrestrial broadcasting networks and wireless microphones. Lamy has suggested regulatory security and stability for terrestrial broadcasters in the remaining UHF spectrum below 700 MHz to be safeguarded until 2030.
EU vice president Neelie Kroes replied to the report, stating: "Pascal's report lays down a path for creating capacity for fast wireless broadband everywhere and for ensuring a stable and predictable future for terrestrial broadcasting, while allowing those member states that want to move forward more quickly to do so. It would also ensure sustainable co-existence, as both sectors focus increasingly on advanced media services. This is essential to secure our changing digital future and hold our own in international negotiations."
Lamy is honorary president of the Notre Europe think tank - Jacques Delors Institute and former European commissioner for trade.