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The European Commission has announced its intention to support spectrum sharing across EU member states, reports Mobile Business Briefing.

The European regulator noted that new technology enables the sharing of spectrum between users – and also with “white space” frequencies potentially available for other purposes such as television. A Radio Spectrum Policy Group report (pdf) said that such an approach could provide additional users with spectrum access rights and guaranteed quality of service.

The Commission said that a co-ordinated European approach to spectrum sharing will “lead to greater mobile network capacity, cheaper wireless broadband, and new markets such as tradable secondary rights for a given spectrum allocation”.

Nellie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe (right), said: “Today’s proposal is an essential part of the solution to dealing with the wireless crunch – without interfering with existing rights or downgrading quality of service, but rather by using new technical possibilities to create a secondary market for spectrum rights.”

The Commission noted that new guidelines “need to give different users, including current holders, guaranteed rights to use a given frequency band on a shared basis with guaranteed levels of protection against interference.”

“We need a technology and service neutral approach to ensure that we have the internal market incentives in place to foster more capable technologies in the medium and long term. In this regard we do not propose sharing as an alternative to refarming, but as a complementary source of spectrum resources. As such, the proposed mechanism for identifying BSOs is agnostic in regard to whether it is applied before or after refarming of a given band.”

The regulator is now seeking support from the European Parliament and European Council to create this “more advanced regulatory environment in Europe”.

Ireland this week unveiled a national broadband plan bringing speeds of 30 Mbps to everyone, speeds of 40 Mbps to at least 20% of the public, and speeds of 70-100 Mbps to at least half of the population. Ireland currently has just 1.6 million broadband subscribers, and less than 10% of the country’s business broadband connections are capable of speeds above 10 Mbps downstream.

Ireland’s 4G auctions for the 800Mhz, 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands will be auctioned across two time periods, applicable to each of the three bands being auctioned. The first period will run from 1 February 2013 to 12 July 2015 and the second period will run from 13 July 2015 to 12 July 2030. In the UK, Ofcom will auction off the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequencies for 4G next year.

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