Developing wireless broadband networks to access the internet and other innovative applications is a key EU objective: it will not only make broadband more available in cities, but also in those rural areas not yet reached by fixed broadband.

Availability and harmonisation

Broadband for all is a key objective of the EU's Digital Agenda for Europe.

Two frequency bands at 2500-2690 MHz and 3400-3800 MHz are of great importance for the future development of wireless broadband services in Europe. These two bandwidths can provide substantial capacity for the roll-out of terrestrial networks which make use of new innovative technologies to deliver mobile broadband to the consumer.

Recent Radio Spectrum Committee Decisions on these two bands are expected to boost broadband provision, by providing harmonised conditions for investment in alternative broadband infrastructures. This, in turn, will stimulate growth in ICT services across the EU.

Broadband access

The designation of these bands for electronic communications services is an important development addressing the convergence of the mobile, fixed and broadcasting sectors and reflecting technical innovation. The services would mainly target end-user access to broadband communications.

The Commission Decisions contain technical parameters that will allow electronic communication services using technologies such as WiMAX (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access) and the long-term evolution of UMTS / LTE (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems/ Long-Term Evolution).

WiMAX uses include;connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots; connecting on-the-move; and wireless alternatives to cable and DSL broadband.

Technical decisions

Following an investigation, the European Conference on Postal and Telecommnications Administrations (CEPT) concluded that using the bands is technically feasible and that sharing among different technologies is possible - if certain rules are applied to avoid interference.

No specific technology has been mandated for use in the bands, in line with the aim to make regulation technology-neutral and to ensure effective competition and innovative developments in these frequency bands.

The Decisions establish a balance between harmonised technical parameters and flexible spectrum use, in line with the Commission’s proposals on radio spectrum policy in the review of the regulatory framework and the WAPECS approach.

More information

  • Decision No. 2008/411/EC of the Commission on the harmonisation of the 3400 – 3800 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in the Community

  • Decision No. 2008/477/EC of the Commission on the harmonisation of the 2500 – 2690 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in the Community