Interference from LTE could harm EU 'wireless broadband for all' initiative

With European countries slowly shutting down their analogue TV services, the EC has called for the frequency bands freed up by this move to be used to offer wireless broadband to all European citizens.

However, laboratory tests carried out on behalf of trade body Cable Europe suggested the potential for interference from LTE transmissions when used near a set-top box or cable modem. The interference is said to be sufficient to knock out TV signals, though Cable Europe believed the problem to be avoidable.

The spectrum band in question--the 790MHz to 862MHz sub-band providing good coverage and strong in-building penetration--has been labelled by the EC for use by "innovative providers of technology services," which it hopes will help the EU meet its target of offering broadband coverage to all citizens by 2013.

As such, the EU commissioner for information and media, Viviane Reding, is encouraging all EU member nations to ramp up the pace with the digital TV roll-out and complete the transition to digital TV by the start of 2012.

Reding added that Europe could only make the most of the digital dividend if there was co-operation between the European Parliament and EU countries. "I urge national authorities to use the digital dividend in a pro-competitive way to open up the market for new operators and new services, maximising the impact on the economy. Only this will ensure the digital dividend is used to bring wireless broadband to parts of the EU where high-speed internet cannot be provided efficiently by other technologies."

Meanwhile, the EC has opened an infringement procedure against Germany for failing to allocate the 2500MHz-2690MHz radio frequency band, suitable for the provision of fixed-wireless services. At present, Germany only allocates this frequency band to mobile services, which Reding states is an obstacle to the deployment of wireless broadband services in Germany and Europe, and is a violation of EU law. With the allocation of this frequency band restricted to mobile services, the EC believes that fixed-wireless operators lack the legal certainty they need to provide telecoms services in the 2.6GHz spectrum band.

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