France Plans UHF-Band Spectrum for Mobile Internet and TV Services

23 October 2008

PARIS: France plans to become the first European nation to topslice its prime television broadcasting spectrum for use by mobile internet and video services, setting aside some twenty per cent of capacity for future development.

It is also seen as a major step toward a harmonized pan-European mobile broadband network, and is hailed as such both by mobile operators and Viviane Reding, the EU's telecommunications commissioner.

Says Reding: "I welcome the strong signal from France to use a substantial part of the digital dividend to ensure broadband for all citizens. This will strengthen Europe's efforts to arrive at such a solution for all EU member states in the very near future."

But, alas, you can't please all of the people even some of the time. The European Broadcasting Union, for example, called the French initiative "troubling", claiming it might disadvantage those French broadcasters that need extra spectrum for bandwidth-hungry HD broadcasts.

"We have two concerns, the reduction of the space available to broadcasters to develop their services, such as HD," says EBU senior engineer Walid Sami. "Also, there is the real possibility there will be interference between the two types of signals."

Data sourced from International Herald-Tribune; additional content by WARC staff