State of Play

Regulatory Perspective

Since the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) in 2007, government ministries, regulators and intergovernmental organisations have worked individually and together to achieve a Digital Dividend spectrum allocation for mobile. Some of the ways governments and regulators have worked towards rural broadband using the Digital Dividend are highlighted here.

Germany was the first market in Europe to auction and deploy LTE networks in the digital dividend spectrum. This was achieved despite a complex political environment and a strong broadcast lobby made up of regonal bradcasters. Dr Rüdiger Hahn’s presentation outlines the German case study, from start to finish, showing the approach to realising the German government’s broadband strategy.

Throughout 2008 and 2009, the French government, through its spectrum agency ANFR, negotiated a complex cross-border agreement with Italy. The Italian plan, at the time, was to give the entire Digital Dividend band at 470–862MHz to the broadcast community, causing significant problems for France, which wanted to designate the upper part of the band for mobile broadband. In the presentation given by ANFR, the agency’s spectrum guru Eric Fournier outlines the parts of the final cross-border agreement that allowed France to take advantage of the Digital Dividend for mobile.

Goran Marby became head of the Swedish regulator PTS shortly before the country auctioned its Digital Dividend spectrum at 790–862MHz to mobile network operators. Under his leadership, the February 2011 auction was a significant success. Underlining the auction was an ambitious plan to roll out super-fast broadband to all Swedish citizens — in a tight time frame — by making use of the Digital Dividend.

Finland recognized the potential benefit of the Digital Dividend to provide comprehensive broadband access very early, but has faced a number of challenges in releasing the spectrum. A detailed case study is included in Section 6. Suvi Lindén, former Communications Minister of Finland, outlines the views and perspectives of the Broadband Commission on the importance of the Digital Dividend for economic growth.

Examples of governments' drive to achieve maximum benefit from the Digital Dividend exist all over the world. These case studies describe the obstacles and subsequent advantages of using the Digital Dividend for mobile broadband.