Former European Commissioner Pascal Lamy has been drafted in by the head of the Digital Agenda to chair a new advisory board whose aim is to find consensus on the use of 470-790 MHz spectrum.
Parts of the ultra high frequency spectrum band could be reallocated at the World Radiocommunication Conference in November 2015, but Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, said “important decisions” need to be taken ahead of this.
Consequently, she has brought in Lamy to head an informal High Level Group that includes Deutsche Telekom, KPN, Orange, Telefonica, Teliasonera and Vodafone.
They are joined by broadcasters such as the UK’s BBC, Italy’s Mediaset and industry bodies including the European Broadcasting Union and the GSMA.
Key questions that the group is tasked with answering include: What are the strategic elements of spectrum use in the UHF band in light what the next generation (terrestrial) provision/reception of audiovisual content (including linear TV) will look like?
The group has been tasked with providing a final report by July 2014.
According to a statement, this will help the Commission develop “a long-term strategic and regulatory policy on the future use of the entire UHF band (470-790 MHz), including possibilities for sharing parts of the band”.
Kroes said: “Europe needs to use spectrum more effectively if we want to benefit from the latest TV and internet developments. That's why we need a new consensus on how to use broadcast spectrum.
“Current spectrum assignments won’t support consumer habits of the future – based on huge amounts of audiovisual consumption through broadband and IPTV.”
However, Lamy said he expected discussions to be “quite challenging”.
He added: “Nobody will get everything they want, but I am confident that, based on an open discussion and a willingness to engage at the strategic level, we can deliver a coherent vision for Europe.”
In her opening speech announcing the creation of the group, Kroes said that if there is anyone who can broker an agreement between two important sectors it is Pascal Lamy.