In a previous Cool Stuff, I wrote about the study which I completed demonstrating the social value from reallocating some of the Digital Dividend spectrum for broadband mission critical public safety communications. The European Parliament seems to agree.
Yesterday, the European Parliament’s Industry Committee adopted a report urging that the EU should ensure a set of harmonized, EU-wide rules on how to allocate radio frequencies that will be freed up when analog terrestrial television broadcasting ends in 2012. The report was an own-initiative report authored by Italian liberal MEP, Patrizia Toia and was adopted in Committee with 41 votes in favor, 1 against, and 1 abstention. A plenary vote is scheduled for September. Further, the amendments to the report argue that approximately 100 MHz of the Digital Dividend could be reallocated to mobile broadband and other services such as public safety services, radio frequency identification (RFID), and road safety applications, without preventing broadcasting services from flourishing.
Insight: While the transition from analog to digital terrestrial television should be complete in Europe by the end of 2012 (nearly 4 years after the U.S. is scheduled to complete its transition), decisions on how to reallocate the approximately 75% of the highest quality spectrum which will be released cannot come fast enough. Mission critical broadband communications networks require long lead-times to plan and deploy, and the services they enable are nothing short of lifesaving. Public safety and security users urgently need an additional allocation of a approximately 30 MHz for these purposes. The Industry Committee correctly urges Member States to release their Digital Dividend spectrum as quickly as possible, follow a common methodology, and develop national Digital Dividend strategies by the end of 2009.