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Getting European Spectrum Policy Right Through Coexistence


15 Nov 2011



EU deal leaves key questions on coexistence between new & existing services unanswered; Who’s responsible if new services create interference?

(Brussels, 15 November 2011): Latest negotiations that pave the way for a coherent set of rules on new spectrum use are poised to help the EU achieve the much talked about Digital Agenda.  The Commission has made a clear call to Member States to put in place procedures to promote coexistence between new and existing services.  But the latest text of the new Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP) falls short of capitalizing upon efficient use of spectrum if new services interfere with existing services.

“We are encouraged to see that coexistence of new and existing services is regarded as important in the latest text agreed on EU spectrum policy. Promoting competition, investment and the efficient use of spectrum are also key achievements in future-proofing this policy area. But we are disappointed to see that the new rules fall short of answering the simple question of what the European consumer is supposed to do if a new device interferes with their television, internet connection or any other consumer equipment operating on the same frequency,” said Cable Europe Managing Director, Caroline Van Weede.

The latest developments give hope that the European Commission wishes to promote competition, investment and the efficient use of spectrum. Cable Europe sees the recognition of the need for coexistence as a major achievement in this policy area, especially as it will help new and existing services to smoothly function. Setting a new standard for best practice, the Netherlands have acted on the need for clarity on interference by making commercial agreements a precondition for spectrum acquisition. This sends a positive signal to both businesses keen to invest and consumers who expect their services to function without fail.

However, back in 2009, Cable Europe issued a call to the Commission and EU member states to take interference to a range of existing services into account. In the current absence of an answer of how to respond to potential interference, future spectrum challenges for consumers will need to be examined more closely.

“The interference issue is not new. It was signaled to the European Commission and national administrations as soon as it was identified,” says Cable Europe Labs Managing Director, Peter Percosan. “Spectrum in Europe is something that almost every single EU citizen relies upon daily in some form. Given its importance, it is disappointing to see that interference has not been given adequate attention on the technical level. Technical bodies, such as CEPT, have an important role to play in ensuring coexistence. However, CEPT has not agreed to look into interference with consumer equipment as we anticipate new spectrum needs for new technologies such as cognitive radio. We all know that there will be a growing cocktail of devices and getting those to work together is critical for Europe and its Digital Agenda.”

For more information, please contact:

Gregg Svingen

Director of Communications

M: +32 476 490 603