Feeds

Spectrum goes liberal at EU level

Following Ofcom's lead

The essential guide to IT transformation

While anti-piracy measures may have grabbed the headlines, the EU's Telecoms Package also endorses Ofcom-style spectrum liberalisation across Europe - to a point.

The package, which was voted in today, states that radio spectrum should not be allocated by application; licensees should be free to do with it as they will. But it also tasks the Radio Spectrum Policy Group to oversee those occasions where the EU would like to override licensees' opinions.

Radio frequencies were historically allocated by the regulator for specific applications, such as broadcasting TV or connecting mobile phones. These days, however, companies want the freedom to use their licensed spectrum for anything - a desire fully endorsed by the UK's regulator Ofcom which leads the world in deregulating radio use.

Sometimes it is useful, or necessary, to reserve a particular frequency for a particular application: satellites don't respect national borders and thus need worldwide allocations, but that's handled by the UN through the International Telecommunications Union. EU-wide agreements are more likely about achieving economies of scale.

The success of GSM can be largely attributed to its standardisation across Europe. Harmonisation of both frequency and technology meant a single mobile phone or piece of network equipment could be used anywhere, creating enormous economies of scale and a success that the EU has been trying to replicate ever since.

These days radios are more agile, so the necessity for standard frequencies is less pressing, and it's highly unlikely that national regulators are going to let the EU dictate much spectrum usage. So the RSPG will end up creating "guideline" documents and "optional" standards that can safely be ignored.

The problem for the RSPG is that anything it does will have to be approved by the BEREC, which was also created today. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications started life as an EU super-regulator, but got watered down several times into a talking shop comprised of representatives from the national regulators.

So from a spectrum point of view we can expect to see less regulation, but more regulators, across Europe. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.