Neelie Kroes: Finding the spectrum to power the wireless revolution


I am delighted to be with you once again. I’m glad this is becoming an annual opportunity for me to meet you, the frontline experts on spectrum developments!

And you know, none of us, neither politicians nor experts, should ever forget the role radio spectrum plays.

In Europe alone, it supports 3.5 million jobs and more than one quarter of a trillion euros of economic activity each year.

Working together ensures an even bigger boost. EU coordination of digital dividend spectrum could boost the impact by one to three billion euros per year.

Meanwhile, wireless broadband can play a significant role getting every European digital. It has become a leading way for Europeans to access the internet: already over 170 million of us can access the internet through our phones.

And ever faster. By 2020, I want all Europeans to have coverage at over 30 Megabits per second. It’s clear that no single technology will deliver this overnight. But in some places, 4G mobile networks already offer those speeds—if not higher.

So now is an excellent time to look at what has happened since last year’s conference.

First, we have seen amazing new uses of spectrum. We’ve seen new 4G investments, and new networks.

There are new ways to make use of mobile broadband – new devices, new apps, new services.

And overall, mobile data traffic more than doubled in one year. By 2016, such traffic in Europe could reach three trillion megabytes a month.

Second, we have seen increasing freeing up of spectrum. Analogue TV signals in more and more countries have been switched off, as we prepare to get the huge benefits of the digital dividend in the 800 Megahertz band.

Third, we agreed and adopted our Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, ahead of schedule. A framework to help make spectrum available, enhance flexibility and efficiency, and promote competition, without fragmentation.

Bringing down the barriers to exponential mobile growth.

Fourth, we had the World Radio Conference– and in particular, developments on the 700 MHz band.

Today I’d like to talk to you about how we plan to take all these issues forward. How to respond to developments – how to use our new toolbox to deliver for the industries using spectrum – and how to boost our overall economy.

I always said the Radio Spectrum Programme would be ambitious. And perhaps nowhere is it more so than in our targets for wireless broadband: by 2015, to have at least 1200 MHz of spectrum for that purpose, across the EU.

We should start with the spectrum that is already harmonised: already that amounts to over 1000 MHz. I want that to be offered up through spectrum awards by next year, if it’s not already done.

There is already good progress in some countries, but others lag behind. Sweden is already there; Denmark, Estonia, Germany and Latvia are there or are getting close; but 10 Member States are not even half way there!

We need to continue and complete that process. Here to read more.

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