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Analogue TV spectrum earmarked for mobile networks

EU's Reding says networks should get radio spectrum

European's Telecommunication Commissioner wants to hand half of all radio spectrum that becomes available when TV switches from analogue to digital transmission - the so-called digital dividend - to mobile and wireless networks by 2010.

Speaking after addressing the 27 telecom ministers of the EU at a meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday, Viviane Reding said distributing the newly available radio frequencies quickly and efficiently is vitally important.

"Let me make a very bold proposal: let us agree to allocate, by 2010, 50 percent of this digital to new mobile and wireless services. This would allow us to turn the dream of broadband for all Europeans into a reality, while at the same time allowing enough space for commercial and public broadcasters to develop and offer new and more modern TV services," Reding said.

Distributing radio spectrum is an essential element in Reding's reform package for Europe's telecom regulatory regime. She has faced pressure from all sides, including from broadcasters, who want to keep the lion's share of frequencies in the TV industry.

Reding announced her 2010 target date for the distribution of radio spectrum during the first formal discussion of her reform package with telecom ministers. One of her key plans - the creation of a powerful central telecom regulator for the EU - was dismissed by the ministers.

But other elements of the package won widespread support, including her plan to punish former telecom monopolies that fail to give rivals fair access to their networks by forcing them to separate their network operations from their services units.

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