The ACT Position on the Draft RSPG Opinion on the Radio Policy Spectrum Programme

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The ACT would like to submit for consideration the position paper presented to the European Commission in response to the recent public consultation on the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme where we highlight issues which are relevant to the current consultation.

We welcome the contribution of the RSPG to shaping the future RSPP as certain elements of the Draft Opinion are oriented towards an approach based on: 

  • the need to continuously monitor and assess the Commission RSPP including through public consultations and workshops, 
  • the enhancement of the quality of life of European citizens by promoting enabling technologies and applications such as digital broadcasting, 
  • the acknowledgement that spectrum is a national resource, 
  • the principles that regulation should be limited to the necessary minimum and that all stakeholders should be consulted in a transparent way on the elaboration of spectrum allocation solutions, 
  • the recognition that avoiding and controlling interference is key to effective spectrum management, and 
  • the assertion that national authorities should be encouraged to share experiences and best practices.

(i.e. paragraphs 6, 8, 17, 20, 21, 23, and 31 bullet point 4).

In addition to the attached contribution, commercial broadcasters would like to draw attention on the potential pitfalls in pushing the process of looking further than the 800 MHz band too early and without enough evidence of the real demand.

In this respect, we welcome the RSPG’s point that all policy orientations should take into consideration current and as well as future demand and follow thorough analysis. However, we would strongly caution against extensive EU intervention as 2012 “soft deadlines” notwithstanding, significant European markets have yet to adopt a deliverable switchover policy. As such, local operators will not yet have been able to assess their spectrum needs or plan their business strategies against the lack of detailed planning in their national markets in relation to the 800 MHz band.

The progressive shaping of a coordination between Member States’ policies on spectrum at European level has to be “fact-based” in order to deliver its full potential, rather than founded on a “view” on the release of ‘new” spectrum, which would not respect the effective situations and needs of each market, following thorough impact analysis. The interests of operators, still dealing with hypothetical scenarios as to take-up of DTT and of future spectrum needs, argue very strongly against even considering policy at a pan-European level until such time as all European markets are able to assess such policy against actual and potential spectrum requirements.

The release of spectrum below the 800 MHz band is likely to have very significant impact on broadcast businesses in a number of EU countries. Given the specificity of the national markets, as well as the prerogative of Member States to decide on spectrum allocation and use, it is not justified that the RSPG urges the Commission to proceed with identifying future uses of the spectrum across EU 27. It is very clear that use of spectrum will vary from one country to another depending on a number of factors and national characteristics which cannot be treated with a “one size fits all” solution.

We invite you to take into consideration the ACT submission in the Annex and we stay at you disposal for further comments.