What to do with the digital dividend

Posted on October 29, 2009  /  1 Comments

The Negroponte Switch sees all that was wireless becoming wired. That means no spectrum for broadcasters. Next best is less spectrum. The digital dividend. The 700 MHz Band. What to do with it? India could have taken the lead but now it’s the Europeans.

The European Commission will urge the 27 European Union countries Wednesday to reserve a uniform slice of broadcast spectrum for a pan-European mobile broadband network, one that could enable flat-rate, international voice and data calling plans.

A copy of the proposal, reviewed by the International Herald Tribune, sets out technical guidelines for E.U. countries that choose to redeploy part of their low-frequency spectrum, a bandwidth that has been used exclusively by television broadcasters since the inception of the industry more than 50 years ago.

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  1. I don’t think no country alone can address this issue, let alone leading it. Because the fundamental goal is to create a standardized approach that allows the development of easily available, comparatively inexpensive and completely interoperable cross-border mobile broadband services. The EC proposes that 700 MHz spectrum should be reserved for such mobile broadband services.

    But Brussels lack the power to dictate how Member States use their national spectrum and cannot mandate how freshly released bandwidth must be used. The Commission thinks the digital dividend bandwidth should be used to provide mobile broadband services that will repeat the incredible success of GSM and inject an extra €20 to €50 billion a year into the European economy within the next five years.

    The EC also urges Member States to work harder to meet the early 2012 deadline for the continent-wide switch-off of analogue television signals. To date just five out of the 27 EU Member States have migrated to digital TV. It is apprehended that as many as 10 counties will fail to meet the deadline – throwing spectrum planning and the coordinated deployment of new mobile broadband services across the EU into expensive disarray.

    The Asia-Pacific region consist of countries with more than half the world population, and even if the penetration of mobile subscriptions is still lower than in some few other markets, this outnumbers other Regions in the world.

    In the band under consideration, Region 3 has in the ITU Radio Regulations a primary allocation to the mobile service and, in addition, the 9 countries in Region 3 that signed up to the IMT identification.

    If Region 3 (APT member countries) can arrive at a harmonized view on how to arrange the frequency band 698-806 MHz it will not only have an impact on a market that is more than sufficient to allow very cost efficient equipment, but it will also be a significant signal for other regions to follow.

    In the APT Wireless Forum – Ericsson, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Motorola have proposed a solution based on a 2×50 MHz FDD arrangement using a dual-duplexer technology, a solution that is currently being specified in 3GPP also for other frequencies. This proposal caters for an exceptional spectrum-efficiency solution, by utilizing 100 MHz out of the totally available 108 MHz.

    The current APT Wireless Forum work plan on the UHF band is to have a harmonized spectrum recommendation to be concluded during year 2010. It will protect the SAARC as well as the ASEAN and other countries’ economic interest.