European Commission pushes through 2G spectrum refarming rules

The European Commission (EC) has published technical rules on the refarming of 2G spectrum as part of its drive to see improved rural broadband coverage.

The new rules aim to allow the coexistence of 2G, 3G and LTE/WiMAX networks without interference, and state that European telecom regulators have until the end of this year to adopt the new directive.

The specific spectrum involved in these new rules--the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands--is being seen as the EC pushing member states that have been slow to open 2G bands to refarming for 3G or 4G technology. The underlying objective behind this move is for the European Union (EU) to meet one of its key targets of providing all Europeans with access to data speeds of at least 30Mbps by 2020.

Neelie Kroes, Commissioner for the EU's Digital Agenda, said in a statement carried by Reuters that "the decision opens the way for the latest 4G mobile devices to gain access to the radio spectrum they need to operate." Kroes added that the new rules would "stimulate high-speed broadband services and foster more competition."

These new rules come after the EC undertook technical studies in 2009 to determine the likelihood that LTE and WiMAX could coexist with established networks. This included clarifying the interference to networks operating in adjacent bands, such as aeronautical and railways services, and how European countries must protect these neighbouring frequencies.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this article

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