Communications Networks, Content and Technology
European Commission Directorate General

Spectrum - efficient use

Spectrum - efficient use

Spectrum (Unit B.4)

To ensure sustainable wireless connectivity by identifying and allocating sufficient and appropriate spectrum while ensuring a predictable development path for terrestrial broadcasting and encouraging convergence.


Design and implement actions for wireless communications to promote the most efficient use possible of spectrum, to meet the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme's (RSPP) target of 1200 MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband in support of the Digital Agenda broadband targets, and to maximise the benefits of spectrum usage in a converging environment throughout the Single Market.


Currently about 1000 MHz of spectrum is available for wireless broadband of which only about 65% (EU average) is being used.As indicated in the impact assessment of the TSM proposal lack of EU spectrum coordination means different assignments' timelines and licence conditions leading to fragmentation. National assignment procedures tend to maximise state revenues rather than socio-economic welfare.Mobile data traffic growth (estimated by Cisco at 66% annually for 2012-2017) means soaring spectrum demand and the likely decrease of quality of service as well as price increases for consumers.At the World Radio Conference-12 the ITU decided to co-allocate the 700 MHz to wireless broadband alongside broadcasting as of 2015. This calls for studying the future of terrestrial platforms in the EU for the delivery of digital services, in particular the audio-visual, and considering  the opportunity of global harmonisation and the likelihood of convergence.The allocation of bands for wireless broadband may reduce spectrum availability for existing applications due to net spectrum loss or harmful interference to applications in adjacent bands.


Full-Time Equivalent: 
6.50 full-time equivalent (FTE)
436,600 EUR

Work with Council and European Parliament towards timely adoption of the Telecom Single Market proposal, which is meant to be the basis for consistent spectrum assignment conditions and procedures as well as harmonised assignment calendars throughout the Union.Participate to Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) and European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) working groups at various locations to ensure constructive policy dialogue with Member States and industry to take appropriate measures for spectrum designation and efficient use (e.g. harmonisation and/or liberalization)Studies financed by the Commission:1) Analysis of technology trends, future needs and demand for spectrum in line with Art. 9 of the Radio Spectrum Policy Program (RSPP) (240K EUR)2) Socio-economic aspects of harmonization of spectrum for program making and special events use (99.4K EUR)3) Traffic off-loading and its impact on spectrum demand (97.2K EUR)Dialogue between broadcasters and broadband players to contribute to finding a future-proof solutionMonitor the implementation of Articles 6.2 and 6.4 of the RSPP to ensure timely spectrum awards for wireless broadband at national levelOngoing policy work on best practices in assignment (RSPP)


PMSE Decision

Commission Decision on Program Making and Special Events

Timeframe: Q1/Q2 2014



Adoption of Commission Decision on Program Making and Special Events


Broadband broadcasting convergence

Secure political, technological and business world consensus on the direction towards broadband and broadcasting convergence, based on spectrally and economically efficient systems to guarantee linear and non-linear content delivery.

Timeframe: 2015, 2020




Target Converged terrestrial platform (2020)
Baseline Separate use of broadband and broadcasting (2013)

Spectrum reform

Target Spectrum reform in the sub-1GHz band (2020)
Baseline Fragmented spectrum

Harmonised spectrum for wireless broadband

Set appropriate regulatory conditions for harmonised spectrum use for WBB

Timeframe: Q4 2016



Wireless broadband spectrum

Target Identify additional spectrum to reach 1200 MHz for wireless broadband (2015)
Baseline 990 MHz currently available

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • DAE - The entire EU to be covered by broadband above 30Mbps by 2020