The management of radio spectrum in Europe is complex. Adequate spectrum must be made available to support important emerging technologies: and this requires the fair allocation and reallocation of frequencies.
Supporting a fully functioning internal market requires coordination between 27 or more national regulatory bodies; as well as collaboration between European and global radio spectrum bodies. EU policy-makers are currently addressing a number of key topics:
Reallocation of spectrum: as demand for radio spectrum increases, we must manage and use this scarce and valuable commodity as efficiently as possible - for the maximum benefit to society, across Europe. The ‘Digital Dividend’ that results from the switchover of European television broadcasting from analogue to digital systems makes a significant impact here.
Wireless broadband: electronic communications services (ECS) cover access to wireless high-speed internet, advanced mobile communications and other information and communication technologies; in particular ensuring wireless broadband connectivity for all communities - given that the Digital Agenda for Europe sets the target of 100% coverage by 30 Mbps broadband by 2020. A flexible, market-sensitive approach is required in this dynamic, rapidly evolving innovative sector.
Shared use of spectrum: This area covers the unlicensed use of spectrum that allows a large number of independent users to access the same frequency spectrum at the same time, under well-defined conditions and regulations. Short-range devices (SRD) are one good example, but not the only one. Increasingly, next-generation radio access technologies such as Cognitive Radio (CR) and/or Software Defined Radio (SDR) promise to improve the opportunities to share spectrum access efficiently.
Public use of spectrum: the public sector is a substantial user of spectrum – with assignments representing 40-50% of the valuable frequencies below 15 GHz.
Transport: radio spectrum has a major role in future transport systems. Like technologies that help vehicles communicate, or sensing systems for increased safety.
Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR): emergency services today rely more and more on wireless communication capabilities. Especially in emergency situations, for dealing with serious disruptions - whether they are caused by accidents, natural disasters or human acts.