EU plans to coordinate a key mobile spectrum in Europe

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union regulators proposed on Tuesday to roll out a key mobile spectrum across the 28-nation bloc to improve access to internet services and technologies, including in remote areas.

European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Currently, EU nations have different approaches to managing radio frequencies.

“This band is the sweet spot for both wide coverage and high speeds. It will give top-quality internet access to all Europeans, even in rural areas, and pave the way for 5G, the next generation of communication network,” EU Commissioner Andrus Ansip said in a statement.

The 700 MHz band can penetrate buildings and walls easily and cover larger geographic areas with less infrastructure compared with frequencies in higher bands.

The proposal will need approval from the European Parliament and EU countries, with the process expected to take around a year.

The Commission wants the frequency assigned to wireless broadband by June 2020 in all EU countries. It expects mobile internet traffic to have increased eight times by that date.

The 700 MHz band is widely used for television signals, with the EU proposal splitting the spectrum to make it useable for audiovisual as well as data transmissions.

Only France and Germany have allowed the use of this spectrum for mobile services, while Britain, Denmark, Finland and Sweden plan to do the same in the coming years.

Industry groups reacted positively to the proposal, saying it would improve efficiency.

“With spectrum harmonisation citizens will enjoy even higher-quality broadband and telecom operators will be able to cover wider areas for the benefit of all users,” said Lise Fuhr Director General of European telecoms lobby ETNO.

Editing by Dominic Evans and Mark Potter