Procedure : 2016/0027(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0327/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0327/2016

Debates :

PV 14/03/2017 - 16
CRE 14/03/2017 - 16

Votes :

PV 15/03/2017 - 9.5

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0082

REPORT     ***I
PDF 729kWORD 111k
14 November 2016
PE 580.792v02-00 A8-0327/2016

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union

(COM(2016)0043 – C8-0020/2016 – 2016/0027(COD))

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Rapporteur: Patrizia Toia

AMENDMENTS
DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education
 PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union

(COM(2016)0043 – C8-0020/2016 – 2016/0027(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0043),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0020/2016),

–  having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 26 May 2016(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to Rules 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0327/2016),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Amendment    1

Proposal for a decision

Recital 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1)  In the multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (RSPP) established by Decision No 243/2012/EU20, the European Parliament and the Council set the objectives of identifying at least 1 200 MHz of spectrum suitable for wireless broadband electronic communications services in the Union by 2015, of supporting the further development of innovative audiovisual media services by ensuring sufficient spectrum for the satellite and terrestrial provision of such services, if the need is clearly substantiated, and of ensuring sufficient spectrum for programme making and special events (PMSE).

(1)  In the multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (RSPP) established by Decision No 243/2012/EU20, the European Parliament and the Council set the objectives of identifying at least 1 200 MHz of spectrum suitable for wireless broadband electronic communications services in the Union by 2015, of supporting the further development of innovative broadcasting services by ensuring sufficient spectrum for the satellite and terrestrial provision of such services, if the need is clearly substantiated, and of ensuring sufficient spectrum for programme making and special events (PMSE).

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20 Decision No 243/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (OJ L 81, 21.3.2012, p. 7).

20 Decision No 243/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (OJ L 81, 21.3.2012, p. 7).

Amendment    2

Proposal for a decision

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2)  In its strategy for the digital single market (DSM)21, the Commission highlights the importance of the 694-790 MHz (‘700 MHz’) frequency band for ensuring the provision of broadband services in rural areas and stresses the need for a coordinated release of that frequency band, while accommodating the specific needs of audiovisual media services distribution.

(2)  In its strategy for the digital single market (DSM)21, the Commission highlights the importance of the 694-790 MHz ('700 MHz') frequency band for ensuring the provision of broadband services in rural areas and stresses the need for a coordinated release of that frequency band in order to ensure access and connectivity, while accommodating the specific needs of broadcasting services distribution. Reducing the digital divide, in coverage as well as in knowledge, is an important aspect that has to be a priority, without creating new divides when users take up new technologies.

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21 See http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/index_en.htm.

21 See http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/index_en.htm.

Amendment    3

Proposal for a decision

Recital 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2 a)  Improving the management of spectrum, is a condition for the industrial shift to 5G, which would put Europe at the centre of innovation and create a favourable environment for digital networks and services to develop, which thus maximises the growth potential of the digital economy. The European economy will increasingly have digital society at its core, which requires ubiquitous network coverage to develop services relating to the Internet of Things, e-commerce, and European cloud services, and to reap the full benefits of Industry 4.0 across Europe.

Amendment    4

Proposal for a decision

Recital 2 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2 b)  The 700 MHz frequency band represents an opportunity for globally harmonised and coordinated spectrum for mobile broadband offering economies of scale. That band should allow new innovative digital services to be developed in urban and in rural or remote areas, such as e-Health and mHealth, supported by mobile phones, patient monitoring devices and other wireless devices, as well as smart energy grids.

Amendment    5

Proposal for a decision

Recital 2 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(2 c)  In its resolution of 19 January 2016 entitled Towards a Digital Single Market Act1a, the European Parliament reminds the Member States of their commitment to reach full deployment of at least minimum target speeds of 30 Mbps, highlights that radio spectrum is a critical resource which is essential for the future competitiveness of the Union, and calls as a priority for a harmonised and pro-competitive framework for spectrum allocation and for effective spectrum management.

 

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1a Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0009.

Amendment    6

Proposal for a decision

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3)  Spectrum in the 470-790 MHz frequency band is a valuable asset for the cost-efficient deployment of wireless networks with universal indoor and outdoor coverage. This spectrum is currently used across the Union for digital terrestrial television (DTT) and wireless audio PMSE equipment. It supports the development of the media, creative and cultural sectors, which extensively rely on this spectrum resource for the wireless provision of content to mass audiences.

(3)  Spectrum is a public good. It is, in the 470-790 MHz frequency band, a valuable asset for the cost-efficient deployment of wireless networks with universal indoor and outdoor coverage. This spectrum is currently used across the Union for digital terrestrial television (DTT) and wireless audio PMSE equipment. It is thus a prerequisite for access to and dissemination of cultural content and of information and ideas. It supports, in parallel to new forms of distribution, the development of the media, creative, cultural and research sectors, which extensively rely on this spectrum resource for the wireless provision of content to mass audiences.

Amendment    7

Proposal for a decision

Recital 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(3 a)  The allocation of the 700 MHz frequency band should be structured in a way that facilitates competition and should be carried out in a way that does not undermine existing competition but facilitates new competition.

Amendment    8

Proposal for a decision

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4)  For Region 1, which includes the Union, the International Telecommunication Union’s Radio Regulations adopted by the World Radiocommunication Conference have allocated the 700 MHz frequency band to the broadcasting and the mobile (except aeronautical mobile) service on a co-primary basis, and the 470-694 MHz (‘sub-700 MHz’) frequency band exclusively to the broadcasting service, on a primary basis, and to wireless audio PMSE use, on a secondary basis.

(4)  For Region 1, which includes the Union, the International Telecommunication Union's Radio Regulations adopted by the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015 have allocated the 700 MHz frequency band to the broadcasting and the mobile (except aeronautical mobile) service on a co-primary basis, and the 470-694 MHz (‘sub-700 MHz’) frequency band remains exclusively allocated to the broadcasting service, on a primary basis, and to wireless audio PMSE use, on a secondary basis.

Amendment    9

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(5)  Rapidly growing wireless broadband traffic makes enhanced wireless network capacity a necessity. Spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band provides both additional capacity and universal coverage, in particular for the economically challenging rural and remote areas, for indoor use and for wide-range machine-type communications. In this context, coherent measures for high-quality terrestrial wireless coverage across the Union, which build on best national practice for operators’ licence obligations, should aim to meet the RSPP objective that all citizens should have access to broadband speeds of not less than 30 Mb/s by 2020. In this way, the measures will promote innovative digital services and ensure long-term socioeconomic benefits.

(5)  Rapidly growing wireless broadband traffic and the increasing economic, industrial and social importance of the digital economy make enhanced wireless network capacity a necessity. Spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band provides both additional capacity and universal coverage, in particular for the economically challenging rural, mountainous, insular and other remote areas, for indoor use and for wide-range machine-type communications. In this context, coherent and coordinated measures for high-quality terrestrial wireless coverage across the Union, which build on best national practice for operators' licence obligations, should aim to meet the RSPP objective that all citizens throughout the Union should have access to the fastest possible broadband speeds, and not less than 30 Mb/s, by 2020, as well as aiming to achieve an ambitious vision for gigabit societies in the Union. In this way, the measures will promote innovative digital services and ensure long-term socioeconomic benefits.

Amendment    10

Proposal for a decision

Recital 5 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(5 a)  5G will have a major impact not only on the digital sector, but on economies as a whole. Especially against the backdrop of slow deployment of 4G and corresponding services, the successful launch of 5G in the Union will be crucial for economic development and for the competitiveness and productivity of the European economy. Europe therefore needs to take the lead by securing enough spectrum for a successful launch and development of 5G.

Amendment    11

Proposal for a decision

Recital 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6)  Spectrum sharing within a common frequency band between bidirectional wireless broadband use (uplink and downlink), on the one hand, and unidirectional television broadcasting or wireless audio PMSE use, on the other hand, is technically problematic. This means that repurposing the 700 MHz frequency band for bidirectional terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services would deprive DTT and wireless audio PMSE users of part of their spectrum resources. The DTT and PMSE sectors therefore need long-term regulatory predictability on the availability of sufficient spectrum, so that they can safeguard the sustainable provision and development of their services, in particular free-to-view television. Measures may be needed at national and Union level to ensure additional spectrum resource for wireless audio PMSE use outside the 470-790 MHz frequency band.

(6)  Spectrum sharing within a common frequency band between bidirectional wireless broadband use (uplink and downlink), on the one hand, and unidirectional television broadcasting or wireless audio PMSE use, on the other hand, is technically problematic. This means that repurposing the 700 MHz frequency band for bidirectional terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services would deprive DTT and wireless audio PMSE users of part of their spectrum resources. The DTT and PMSE sectors therefore need long-term regulatory predictability on the availability of sufficient spectrum, so that they can safeguard the sustainable provision and development of their services, in particular free-to-view television, while ensuring an appropriate environment for investments, and so that they can ensure that national and European audiovisual policy objectives such as social cohesion, media pluralism and cultural diversity are met. Measures may be needed at national and Union level to ensure additional spectrum resource for wireless audio PMSE use outside the 470-790 MHz frequency band.

Amendment    12

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(7)  In his report to the Commission (the ‘Lamy report’)22, Pascal Lamy, the Chairman of the high-level group on the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band, recommended that the 700 MHz frequency band be made available for wireless broadband by 2020 (+/- two years). This would help achieve the goal of long-term regulatory predictability for DTT in having access to the sub-700 MHz frequency band until 2030, although this would have to be reviewed by 2025. The Lamy Report also recommended national flexibility in spectrum use of the sub-700 MHz frequency band, which is limited to downlink-only. Downlink-only is the restriction of all transmissions in a wireless system, independent of its technology, to unidirectional transmission from central infrastructure stations such as a TV broadcasting tower or a mobile base station to portable or mobile terminals such as TV sets or mobile phones.

(7)  In his report to the Commission (the 'Lamy report')22, Pascal Lamy, the Chairman of the high-level group on the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band, recommended that the 700 MHz frequency band be made available for wireless broadband by 2020 (+/- two years). This would help achieve the goal of long-term regulatory predictability for DTT in having access to the sub-700 MHz frequency band until 2030, although this would have to be reviewed by 2025. The Lamy Report also recommended a "flexibility option" involving studying scenarios that allow spectrum in the sub-700 MHz frequency band to be used for downlink-only electronic communications services in cases where there is no or declining demand for DTT at national level. Downlink-only is the restriction of all transmissions in a wireless system, independent of its technology, to unidirectional transmission from central infrastructure stations such as a TV broadcasting tower or a mobile base station to portable or mobile terminals such as TV sets or mobile phones.

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22 Report by Mr Pascal Lamy, available at: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/report-results-work-high-level-group-future-use-uhf-band.

22 Report by Mr Pascal Lamy, available at: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/report-results-work-high-level-group-future-use-uhf-band.

Amendment    13

Proposal for a decision

Recital 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8)  The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) recommends in its opinion on a long-term strategy on the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union (the ‘RSPG opinion’) the adoption of a coordinated approach across the Union to make the 700 MHz frequency band available for effective use for wireless broadband electronic communications services by the end of 2020. This would be in conjunction with ensuring long-term availability until 2030 of the sub-700 MHz frequency band for the downlink-only provision of audiovisual media services. The RSPG particularly recommends introducing flexibility so that the sub-700 MHz frequency band can also be used for downlink-only wireless broadband electronic communications services.

(8)  The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) recommends in its opinion on a long-term strategy on the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union (the 'RSPG opinion') the adoption of a coordinated approach across the Union to make the 700 MHz frequency band available for effective use for wireless broadband electronic communications services by the end of 2020. Member States should, however, be able to decide on the basis of duly justified reasons to delay the availability of the band for up to two years. Such a coordinated approach would be taken in conjunction with ensuring long-term availability until 2030 of the sub-700 MHz frequency band for the provision of broadcasting services.

Amendment    14

Proposal for a decision

Recital 8 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(8 a)  In its communication of 11 September 2013 on the Telecommunications Single Market, the Commission highlighted how national spectrum assignment schemes result in a fragmented digital single market, since differences in the timing, the conditions and the costs of procedures for acquiring spectrum chill investment, and make it hard to develop integrated wireless networks between countries.

Amendment    15

Proposal for a decision

Recital 9

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(9)  As some Member States have already launched or completed a national process to authorise the use of the 700 MHz frequency band for bidirectional terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services, the Union should take immediate action in order to prevent fragmentation of the single market. What is needed is a coordinated approach to the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band, which should also provide regulatory predictability, balance Member State diversity with single market objectives and promote a coherent Union position on the international scene. In this context, Member States should be required to repurpose the 700 MHz frequency band in a timely manner in accordance with Union and national law.

(9)  As some Member States have already launched or completed a national process to authorise the use of the 700 MHz frequency band for bidirectional terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services, the Union should take immediate action in order to prevent fragmentation of the single market. What is needed is a coordinated approach to the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band, which should also provide regulatory predictability, balance Member State diversity with single market objectives and promote a coherent Union position on the international scene. In this context, Member States should be required to repurpose the 700 MHz frequency band in a timely manner in accordance with Union and national law, while taking into account Member States' specific situations such as existing licences, unreasonably high migration or reallocation costs, which would exceed revenues gained from auction, and geographical location, in particular if a Member State is situated at the periphery of the Union and shares a border with a third country.

Amendment    16

Proposal for a decision

Recital 9 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(9 a)  Member States should be able to delay, on the basis of duly justified reasons, the availability of the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing wireless broadband electronic communications services beyond a common Union deadline of 2020 for up to two years. In the event that a Member State decides to delay the availability of the band, it should inform other Member States and the Commission accordingly and include those duly justified reasons in its national roadmap. Such Member State should also cooperate with neighbouring Member States with a view to coordinating the process of releasing the 700 MHz frequency band and include information on such coordination in its national roadmap.

Amendment    17

Proposal for a decision

Recital 11

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(11)  The use of the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services should be subject to a flexible authorisation regime as soon as possible. This should include the possibility for holders of rights of use of spectrum to trade and lease their existing rights in the context of the application of Articles 9, 9a and 9b of Directive 2002/21/EC24.

(11)  The use of the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services should be subject to a flexible authorisation regime as soon as possible. This should include the possibility for holders of rights of use of spectrum to trade and lease their existing rights in the context of the application of Articles 9, 9a and 9b of Directive 2002/21/EC24, taking into account the obligation to promote effective competition without distortions in the internal market for electronic communications services under Article 5 of Decision No 243/2012/EU and noting that during their respective assessments when licensing spectrum, the Member States, in their full competence, should take into consideration the duration of licences, the business plan of the operators, and its contribution to meeting the Digital Agenda objectives, promoting innovative digital services and long term socio-economic benefits, rather than aiming at the short-term economic benefit from licensing spectrum to the highest bidder.

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24 Directive No 2002/21/EC of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) (OJ L108, 24.4.2002, p.33).

24 Directive No 2002/21/EC of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) (OJ L108, 24.4.2002, p.33).

Amendment    18

Proposal for a decision

Recital 12

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(12)  In line with Articles 9 and 9a of Directive 2002/21/EC, Member States should apply a flexible approach where possible and may allow the introduction of alternative downlink-only uses such as terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services in the sub-700 MHz frequency band in accordance with national needs for distribution of audiovisual media services to a mass audience. When allowing use within the sub-700 MHz frequency band for downlink-only terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services, Member States should ensure that such use does not affect the use of sub-700 MHz band for digital terrestrial broadcasting in neighbouring Member States, as provided for in the agreement at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference of 200625.

(12)  In line with Articles 9 and 9a of Directive 2002/21/EC, Member States should apply a flexible approach where possible and may allow the introduction of alternative uses such as terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services in the sub-700 MHz frequency band in accordance with national needs for distribution of broadcasting services to a mass audience, in cases where there is no or declining demand for DTT at national level. Such scenarios should guarantee continued access to spectrum for DTT as the primary user, subject to national demand. When allowing use within the sub-700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services, Member States should ensure that such use does not affect the use of sub-700 MHz band for digital terrestrial broadcasting in neighbouring Member States, as provided for in the agreement at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference of 200625.

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25 Regional Radiocommunication Conference of 2006 for planning of the digital terrestrial broadcasting service in parts of Regions 1 and 3, in the frequency bands 174-230 MHz and 470-862 MHz (RRC-06) in Geneva.

25 Regional Radiocommunication Conference of 2006 for planning of the digital terrestrial broadcasting service in parts of Regions 1 and 3, in the frequency bands 174-230 MHz and 470-862 MHz (RRC-06) in Geneva.

Amendment    19

Proposal for a decision

Recital 13

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(13)  In any case, spectrum usage in the 470-694 MHz frequency band should be reassessed at Union level no later than 2025. Such an assessment should also take into account the planned review of this frequency band at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023. Changes in the use of the sub-700 MHz frequency band should take into consideration technological developments, consumer behaviour, the importance of continuing the delivery of free television26 service and social, economic and cultural general interest objectives. In this context, studies on technical and regulatory conditions for co-existence between incumbent and new spectrum uses in the sub-700 MHz frequency band are necessary. These would ensure coherence between the approaches taken by different Member States on flexible and efficient spectrum use and would enable technical harmonisation measures for use and co-existence in this band. Such studies and measures may be developed pursuant to Decision No 676/2002/EC.

(13)  In any case, spectrum usage in the 470-694 MHz frequency band should be reassessed at Union level in time for the planned review of this frequency band at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023. Changes in the use of the sub-700 MHz frequency band should take into consideration technological developments, consumer behaviour, the importance of continuing the delivery of free television26 service and social, economic and cultural general interest objectives. In this context, studies on technical and regulatory conditions for co-existence between incumbent and new spectrum uses in the sub-700 MHz frequency band are necessary. These would ensure coherence between the approaches taken by different Member States on flexible and efficient spectrum use and would enable technical harmonisation measures for use and co-existence in this band. Such studies and measures may be developed pursuant to Decision No 676/2002/EC.

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26 In the meaning of Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (Audiovisual Media Services Directive).

26 In the meaning of Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (Audiovisual Media Services Directive).

Amendment    20

Proposal for a decision

Recital 14

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(14)  Member States should adopt coherent national roadmaps to facilitate the use of the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services while ensuring continuity for the television broadcasting services that vacate the band. Once adopted, Member States should communicate the roadmaps in a transparent manner around the Union. The roadmaps should cover activities and timescales for frequency re-planning, technical developments for network and end-user equipment, co-existence between radio and non-radio equipment, existing and new authorisation regimes and information on the possibility to offer compensation for migration costs, where these would arise, in order to avoid, inter alia, costs for end-users. Where Member States intend to maintain DTT, the roadmaps should give particular attention to facilitating upgrades of broadcasting equipment to more spectrum-efficient technologies such as advanced video formats (e.g. HEVC) or signal transmission technologies (e.g. DVB-T2).

(14)  Member States should adopt coherent and coordinated national roadmaps to facilitate the use of the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services while ensuring continuity for the television broadcasting services that vacate the band. Once adopted, Member States should communicate the roadmaps in a transparent manner around the Union. The roadmaps should cover activities and timescales for frequency re-planning, technical developments for network and end-user equipment, co-existence between radio and non-radio equipment, existing and new authorisation regimes, mechanisms to avoid harmful interference to spectrum users in adjacent bands and information on the possibility to offer compensation for migration costs, where these would arise, in order to avoid, inter alia, costs for end-users. Where Member States intend to maintain DTT, the roadmaps should give particular attention to facilitating upgrades of broadcasting equipment to more spectrum-efficient technologies such as advanced video formats (e.g. HEVC) or signal transmission technologies (e.g. DVB-T2).

Amendment    21

Proposal for a decision

Recital 15

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(15)  The scope and mechanism of possible compensation for completing the transition in spectrum use within the 470-790 MHz frequency band should be analysed in accordance with the relevant national provisions as provided by Article 14 of Directive 2002/20/EC27, and have to be consistent with the provisions of Articles 107 and 108 TFEU.

(15)  The scope and mechanism of possible compensation for completing the transition in spectrum use within the 470-790 MHz frequency band should be analysed in accordance with the relevant national provisions as provided by Article 14 of Directive 2002/20/EC27, and have to be consistent with the provisions of Articles 107 and 108 TFEU. In this regard, given the high value of the band for wireless broadband use, Member States should take advantage of revenues from award procedures or other fees, which could be expected to exceed migration costs significantly. The Commission should be able to provide guidance to Member States on adequate and prompt compensation, in order to facilitate the transition in spectrum use. Member States should, in particular, take into account the importance of prompt compensation for end-users.

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27 Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.04.2002, p. 21)

27 Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.04.2002, p. 21)

Amendment    22

Proposal for a decision

Article 1 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1)  By 30 June 2020, Member States shall allow the use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing wireless broadband electronic communications services only under harmonised technical conditions set by the Commission pursuant to Article 4 of Decision 676/2002/EC. Where necessary, Member States shall carry out the authorisation process or amend relevant existing rights to use the spectrum in accordance with Directive 2002/20/EC, in order to allow that use.

1.  By 30 June 2020, Member States shall allow the use of the 694-790 ('700 MHz') MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing wireless broadband electronic communications services only under harmonised technical conditions set by the Commission pursuant to Article 4 of Decision 676/2002/EC. Member States may, however, delay the making available of the band for up to two years on the basis of duly justified reasons in accordance with the Annex. Where a Member State does so, it shall inform other Member States and the Commission accordingly and shall include those duly justified reasons in its national roadmap adopted pursuant to Article 5. Where necessary, Member States shall carry out the authorisation process or amend relevant existing rights to use the spectrum in accordance with Directive 2002/20/EC, in order to allow that use.

 

Member States that delay the use of the 700 MHz frequency band under the first subparagraph shall cooperate with neighbouring Member States with a view to coordinating the process of releasing the band for wireless broadband electronic communications services and include information on such coordination in its national roadmap adopted pursuant to Article 5.

Amendment    23

Proposal for a decision

Article 1 – paragraph 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

3 a.  This Decision is without prejudice to the right of Member States to organise and use their spectrum for the purposes of public order, public security and defence.

Amendment    24

Proposal for a decision

Article 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

By 30 June 2022, Member States shall allow the transfer or leasing of the rights of use of spectrum for electronic communications services in the 694-790 MHz frequency band.

Member States shall allow the transfer or leasing of the rights of use of spectrum for terrestrial systems capable of providing wireless broadband electronic communications services in the 700 MHz frequency band, in accordance with open and transparent procedures, as from the date of the granting of such rights.

Amendment    25

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

When Member States authorise the use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band or amend existing rights to use the 694-790 MHz frequency band, they shall take all necessary measures to ensure a high-quality level of coverage of their population and territory at speeds of at least 30 Mb/s, both indoors and outdoors, including in pre-determined national priority areas where necessary, and along major terrestrial transport paths. Such measures may include conditions facilitating or encouraging sharing network infrastructure or spectrum in compliance with Union law.

1.  When Member States authorise the use of the 700 MHz frequency band or amend existing rights to use the 700 MHz frequency band, they shall take all necessary measures to ensure a consistent and continuous high-quality level of coverage of their entire population and territory, at the fastest possible broadband speeds, and at least 30 Mb/s both indoors and outdoors, including coverage in pre-determined national priority areas where necessary, and along major terrestrial transport paths, for the purpose of allowing wireless applications and European leadership in new digital services to contribute effectively to Union economic growth. In addition, Member States may take due account of the opportunity to ensure that Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) are able to obtain wholesale access to spectrum and of the opportunity to increase the geographical coverage of MVNOs. Such measures may include conditions facilitating or encouraging sharing network infrastructure or spectrum in compliance with Union law.

 

The Commission shall facilitate, where feasible, the option of jointly organised auctions, thus contributing to pan-European structures.

Amendment    26

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

To that end, Member States shall assess and consult on the need to attach conditions to the rights of use for frequencies within the 694-790 MHz frequency band.

2.  In order to fulfil the obligations laid down in paragraph 1, Member States shall assess and consult on the need to attach conditions to the rights of use for frequencies within the 700 MHz frequency band.

Amendment    27

Proposal for a decision

Article 4 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1)  Member States shall ensure availability of the 470-694 MHz frequency band or parts of the band for the terrestrial provision of audiovisual media services to mass audiences, including free television, and for use by wireless audio PMSE equipment, based on national broadcasting needs. Member States shall ensure that any other use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band on their territory does not cause harmful interference with the terrestrial provision of audiovisual media services in a neighbouring Member State.

1.  Member States shall ensure availability until 2030 of the 470-694 MHz frequency band for the terrestrial provision of broadcasting services to mass audiences, including free television and innovative user-driven initiatives, and for use by wireless audio PMSE equipment, based on national broadcasting needs and taking into account the principle of technological neutrality. In this regard, Member States shall promote cooperation between broadcasters, broadcasting operators and mobile operators in order to facilitate convergence of audiovisual and internet platforms and shared spectrum use.

 

Each Member State shall ensure that any other use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band on its territory is compatible with its national broadcasting needs and does not cause harmful interference with the terrestrial provision of broadcasting services in a neighbouring Member State.

Amendment    28

Proposal for a decision

Article 4 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2)  If Member States authorise the use of spectrum in the 470-694 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communication services other than television broadcasting networks, such use shall be limited to downlink-only. Such use shall be without prejudice to obligations resulting from international agreements and Union law.

2.  If Member States authorise the use of spectrum in the 470-694 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services other than television broadcasting networks, such use shall take into consideration the national needs for distribution of broadcasting services to mass audiences. Such use shall be without prejudice to obligations resulting from international agreements, such as cross-border frequency coordination agreements, and Union law.

Amendment    29

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

By 30 June 2017, Member States shall adopt and make public their national plan and schedule (‘national roadmap’) for fulfilling their obligations under Articles 1 and 4 of this Decision.

1.   As soon as possible and in any event no later than 30 June 2018, Member States shall adopt and make public their national plan and schedule ('national roadmap'), including detailed steps for fulfilling their obligations under Articles 1 and 4 of this Decision. They shall draw up those national roadmaps ensuring the participation of all relevant stakeholders.

 

In the event that a Member State delays allowing use of the 700 MHz frequency band beyond 30 June 2020, its national roadmap shall include duly justified reasons in accordance with Article 1(1). The RSPG shall issue an opinion on any national roadmap envisaging such a delay.

Amendment    30

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

In order to ensure that the use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band is in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 1, Member States shall include in their national roadmaps, where appropriate, information on measures to limit the impact of the forthcoming transition process on the public and users of wireless audio PMSE equipment and to facilitate the timely availability of interoperable television broadcasting network equipment and receivers in the internal market.

2.   In order to ensure that the use of the 700 MHz frequency band is in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 1, Member States shall include in their national roadmaps, where appropriate, information on measures, including support measures, to limit the impact of the forthcoming transition process on the public and users of wireless audio PMSE equipment and to facilitate the timely availability of interoperable television broadcasting network equipment and receivers in the internal market.

Amendment    31

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Article 5 a

 

1.  Member States may, where appropriate and in accordance with Union law, ensure that the direct cost, in particular for end-users, of migration or reallocation of spectrum use is compensated adequately, promptly, and in a transparent manner, in order to facilitate the transition in spectrum use to more spectrum-efficient technologies such as DVB-T2 or HEVC.

 

2.  In cooperation with Member States, the Commission may provide guidance to Member States on compensation, in order to facilitate the transition in spectrum use.

Amendment    32

Proposal for a decision

Article 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

By 1 January 2025, the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, shall carry out an assessment and report to the Council and Parliament on developments in the use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band, taking into account the social, economic, cultural and technological aspects affecting the use of the band pursuant to Articles 1 and 4. The report shall assess whether it is necessary to change the use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band, or any part of it, in the Union.

By 1 January 2023, the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, shall carry out an assessment and report to the Council and Parliament on developments in the use of the 470-960 MHz frequency band, with a view to developing a common position on the review of that frequency band at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023. The assessment shall take into account the social, economic, cultural and technological aspects affecting the use of the band pursuant to Articles 1 and 4, further technological developments, changes in consumer behaviour but also the requirements in connectivity to foster growth and innovation in the Union. The report shall assess whether it is necessary to change the use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band, or any part of it, in the Union.

Amendment    33

Proposal for a decision

Annex

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Annex

 

Justified reasons for a delay in making available the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing wireless broadband electronic communications services later than 30 June 2020 (Article 1(1))

 

Member States may delay making available the 700 MHz frequency band until 30 June 2022 on the basis of one or more of the following duly justified reasons:

 

(a)  unresolved cross-border coordination issues resulting in harmful interferences;

 

(b)  the need to ensure, and the complexity of ensuring, technical migration of a large amount of the population to advanced broadcasting standards;

 

(c)  the financial costs of transition exceeding the expected revenue generated by award procedures;

 

(d)  force majeure.

(1)

OJ C 303, 19.8.2016, p. 127.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Internet of Things, Cloud, and mobile communication services, the digitisation of industrial sectors (Industry 4.0) and improvement of the efficiency of government departments (e-government). These are but a few examples of connectivity services which are developing rapidly around the world and which therefore call for speed, but also for communications networks that are able to transmit a large amount of data and reach not only densely populated areas, but also remote ones. The completion of the Digital Union also depends on new technologies for transmitting and receiving data, and therefore also on parts of the spectrum that are valuable for wireless communications.

This proposal for a decision, adopted by the Commission on 2 February 2016, is one of the set of measures provided for in the Digital Single Market Strategy COM(2015)192, which include the submission of: 'specific proposals on the coordinated release of the 694-790 MHz band ('700 MHz') band, which is particularly well-suited for ensuring the provision of broadband services in rural areas, while accommodating the specific needs of audiovisual media distribution'.

The aim of the proposal under consideration is to harmonise, at EU level, the allocation of frequencies, to provide businesses and citizens with universal high-speed wireless connectivity.

Availability of a broad radio spectrum is one of the vital prerequisites for the deployment of broadband services. However, the national management of the spectrum results in very different conditions between individual Member States, in terms of the duration of licences and coverage obligations. The management and regulation of this resource therefore need to be changed, to ensure that it is used more efficiently, giving priority to activities that provide more services and better performance for all users.

Given that by 2020, according to some statistics, mobile Internet traffic will increase by eight times compared to today, the capacity of the networks needs to be strengthened: spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band provides additional capacity and universal coverage, in particular for rural and remote areas, which are challenging in terms of the cost of investment in infrastructure. In this regard, harmonised measures for high-quality wireless coverage should enable the aim of the multiannual EU radio spectrum programme – that all citizens should have access to broadband speeds of not less than 30 Mb/s by 2020 – to be achieved.

Background to the proposal

Wireless connectivity requires access to spectrum in the bands below 1 GHz, which are the most appropriate bands for both wide coverage and high speeds.

The 790-862 MHz ('800 MHz band') was the first portion of the UHF band (470-862 MHz) to be repurposed for wireless broadband services in the Union.

At present, the UHF broadcasting band comprising the range of frequencies from 470 to 790 MHz is used for digital terrestrial television (DTT) and audio programme making and special events (audio PMSE) equipment, essentially wireless microphones.

In 2012, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Conference determined that, as of 2015, the 700 MHz band should be allocated to both broadcasting and mobile services in the region including the European Union.

In 2014, the conclusions of the so-called Lamy Report were published. The report recommended that the 700 MHz frequency band be made available for wireless broadband by the end of 2020 (approximately two years), whilst providing safeguards that terrestrial broadcasting would have spectrum access to the sub-700 MHz frequency band up to 2030, although the situation would have to be reviewed by 2025.

A similar opinion was adopted by the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG), set up by the Commission as having an advisory role on radio spectrum management policies.

In 2015, the same Conference finalised the international negotiations on technical and regulatory parameters for the use of the 700 MHz band and maintained the exclusive allocation of the sub-700 MHz frequency band to the broadcasting service.

Your rapporteur fully endorses the objectives relating to the full deployment of broadband in Europe and the provision of innovative services for citizens and businesses, and supports the Commission proposal, albeit while pointing out that some amendments concerning the following points are required.

Article 1 stipulates that by 30 June 2020, Member States must make available the 694-790 MHz frequency band (the '700 MHz' band) for wireless broadband electronic communications services and that, from that date, only those operators that are capable of providing services in compliance with the technical conditions to be set by the Commission will be allowed to use the band. Given the lack of uniformity noted also by the Lamy Report in the various Member States, your rapporteur considers it advisable to allow for flexibility of up to two years, to enable Member States, for duly justified reasons, to postpone the assignment of the part of the spectrum concerned. In addition, in order for the use of the frequency band in question to be achieved by the date established, Member States will have to conclude all necessary cross-border frequency coordination agreements within the Union by 31 December 2017. This will pave the way for future use of the band without any cross-border interference.

Article 2 states that, by 30 June 2022, Member States must allow the transfer or leasing of the rights of use of spectrum for electronic communications services in the 700 MHz frequency band, thereby making the rights of use tradable. Since the wording of the article could give rise to doubts in interpretation with regard to the addressees of the provision, your rapporteur takes the view that only those who have been granted new rights of use (wireless broadband electronic communications services) should be able to enjoy the rights of use of the spectrum.

Article 3 stipulates that when Member States authorise the use of the band, or amend existing rights, they must take all necessary measures to ensure a high-quality level of coverage at speeds of at least 30 Mb/s, both indoors and outdoors, along major terrestrial transport paths. Your rapporteur agrees with the Commission's position, which seeks to ensure that the European Union can play a leading role in new and innovative services in order to contribute effectively to economic growth.

Article 4 concerns the 470-694 MHz frequency band (below 700 MHz) and provides that Member States must make that band, or part of it, available for the terrestrial provision of audiovisual media services to mass audiences and for use by wireless audio programme making and special events equipment (PMSE). Your rapporteur welcomes the Commission's decision to maintain the use of the sub-700 MHz frequency band for the provision of audiovisual media services, but also considers it necessary to ensure that broadcasting operators have investment certainty up to 2030, as provided for in the Lamy Report. In any case, this decision will be subject to review at the World Radiocommunication Conference, due to be held in 2023. Any changes should take into consideration technological developments, consumer behaviour, the importance of continuing the delivery of free television service and social, economic and cultural general interest objectives.

As regards Article 5, your rapporteur considers it advisable for Member States to adopt and communicate to the other EU countries, by 30 June 2018, their national roadmaps in order to fulfil their obligations relating to the repurposing of the 700 MHz frequency band for wireless broadband. The granting of a reasonable period of time for the drawing up of the national roadmaps is due to the need to determine in detail the calendar and stages of the transition, also to facilitate the coordination of frequencies between the Member States and to avoid harmful interference.

Your rapporteur also wishes to stress that none of the measures relating to these decisions must be a burden on consumers and therefore calls on the Member States to provide for some form of compensation for the completion of the transition (Article 5a, new).

With regard to Article 6, your rapporteur hopes that the impact assessment relating to this decision is available by 2023, so that the EU can negotiate internationally, with a single voice, also in view of the rapid evolution of the sector and the social, economic, cultural and technological aspects affecting the use of the band or any part of it.


OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education (24.6.2016)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union

(COM(2016)0043 – C8-0020/2016 – 2016/0027(COD))

Rapporteur: Stefano Maullu

PA_Legam

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The ultra-high frequency (UHF) band, currently used for digital terrestrial television (DTT) and for wireless microphones in programme making and at special events (PSME), comprises the range 470-790 MHz.

Today, there is an ever growing demand for wireless broadband services: more and more pressure is being put on existing networks' capacity by mobile data traffic. As a result, demand for additional spectrum is increasing.

In this proposal, the Commission aims to tackle such issues by proposing a balanced long-term approach for the use of this band:

-  In the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz), the Commission proposes a common schedule for making it available effectively for wireless broadband use under harmonised technical conditions, and related coordination measures in support of this transition. The 700 MHz band should be assigned to wireless broadband by 30 June 2020 at the latest in all Member States.

-  In the sub-700 MHz (470-694 MHz), the Commission establishes a long-term priority for the distribution of audiovisual media services to the general public, along with a flexible approach for spectrum use to cater for different levels of digital terrestrial television (DTT) uptake in Member States. This means that this band will remain available, as a priority, for audiovisual services but the Commission introduces a ‘flexibility option’, offering other services access to these bands under certain circumstances.

The Rapporteur, whilst welcoming the Commission's commitment to accommodate the specific needs for audiovisual media distribution, would however like to raise some concerns in this opinion around three major issues:

-  The deadline for the repurposing of the 700 MHz band.

Moving DTT services out of the 700MHz band is a major challenge, in particular for those Member States where DTT is the main platform to receive television.

The situation at EU level is not homogeneous: France and Germany have already auctioned the 700 MHz band for mobile services whilst Sweden and Finland have outlined plans to repurpose the 700 MHz band in the next few years. However, most Member states have licensed spectrum in the 700 MHz band for broadcasting beyond 2020.

By setting a strict deadline for clearing the 700 MHz band from DTT by 30 June 2020, the Commission takes away the extra time needed by some Member States.

In that context, the Rapporteur suggests extending this deadline to 31 December 2022 (Article 1) in order to provide enough time for all Member States to ensure the availability of the 700 MHz band for mobile use. This follows the suggestion made in the Lamy report (2020 +/- two years).

-  The introduction of a ‘flexibility option’ to deploy alternative technologies in the sub-700 MHz band, i.e. for downlink only terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services.

As suggested by the Lamy report, as well as recommended by the Radio Spectrum Policy Group in its Opinion in 2015, long-term certainty for the availability of spectrum below 700 MHz (470-694 MHz) for broadcasting (DTT) should be ensured at least until 2030.

In that context, the Rapporteur considers that the ‘flexibility’ option is not necessary at this point in time and suggests that this option (Article 4) should be deleted from the proposal, the sub-700 MHz should continue to be used for digital broadcasting at least until the end of 2030 (Article 6 a new) with a review planned in 2025.

The Rapporteur also considers that such an option would first require careful studying and testing and that it should only be considered in the long term if it is found to be compatible with broadcasting in the Member State in question as well as being clearly backed by market demand.

The Rapporteur's suggestions are in line with the ‘20-25-30’ conclusions of the Lamy report in that respect.

-  The Rapporteur also would like to address the issue of migration costs and interference.

Releasing the 700 MHz from broadcasting services requires technical changes to the DTT network because of the change of frequencies. Consumers will have to change their equipment at home and broadcasters will need to make changes to their infrastructure. This means further costs.

Furthermore, previous experience from the clearance of the 800 MHz showed that there may be interference to broadcasting services in adjacent bands. It is essential to ensure that DTT will be safeguarded and protected from harmful interference.

In that context, the Rapporteur suggests that Member states should ensure timely availability of sufficient funds to cover the migration costs and the costs associated with the measures to limit interference to broadcasting services as well as concrete guarantees/mechanisms to avoid harmful interference from mobile use in the 700 MHz band with broadcasting and PMSE services below 694 MHz (Article 5).

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to take into account the following amendments:

Amendment     1

Proposal for a decision

Recital 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1)  In the multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (RSPP) established by Decision No 243/2012/EU20 , the European Parliament and the Council set the objectives of identifying at least 1 200 MHz of spectrum suitable for wireless broadband electronic communications services in the Union by 2015, of supporting the further development of innovative audiovisual media services by ensuring sufficient spectrum for the satellite and terrestrial provision of such services, if the need is clearly substantiated, and of ensuring sufficient spectrum for programme making and special events (PMSE).

(1)  In the multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (RSPP) established by Decision No 243/2012/EU20 , the European Parliament and the Council set the objectives of identifying at least 1 200 MHz of spectrum suitable for wireless broadband electronic communications services in the Union by 2015, of supporting the further development of innovative broadcasting services by ensuring sufficient spectrum for the satellite and terrestrial provision of such services, if the need is clearly substantiated, and of ensuring sufficient spectrum for programme making and special events (PMSE).

_________________

_________________

20 Decision No 243/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (OJ L 81, 21.3.2012, p. 7).

20 Decision No 243/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (OJ L 81, 21.3.2012, p. 7).

Amendment     2

Proposal for a decision

Recital 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2)  In its strategy for the digital single market (DSM)21, the Commission highlights the importance of the 694-790 MHz (‘700 MHz’) frequency band for ensuring the provision of broadband services in rural areas and stresses the need for a coordinated release of that frequency band, while accommodating the specific needs of audiovisual media services distribution.

(2)  In its strategy for the digital single market (DSM)21, the Commission highlights the importance of the 694-790 MHz ('700 MHz') frequency band for ensuring the provision of broadband services in rural areas and stresses the need for a coordinated release of that frequency band, while accommodating the specific needs of broadcasting services distribution.

_________________

_________________

21 See http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/index_en.htm.

21 See http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/index_en.htm.

Amendment     3

Proposal for a decision

Recital 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3)  Spectrum in the 470-790 MHz frequency band is a valuable asset for the cost-efficient deployment of wireless networks with universal indoor and outdoor coverage. This spectrum is currently used across the Union for digital terrestrial television (DTT) and wireless audio PMSE equipment. It supports the development of the media, creative and cultural sectors, which extensively rely on this spectrum resource for the wireless provision of content to mass audiences.

(3)  Spectrum is a public good. It is, in the 470-790 MHz frequency band, a valuable and public asset, and not only for the cost-efficient deployment of wireless networks with universal indoor and outdoor coverage. This spectrum is currently used across the Union for digital terrestrial television (DTT) and wireless audio PMSE equipment. It is thus a prerequisite for access to and dissemination of cultural goods, in particular radio. It supports the development of the media, creative and cultural sectors, which extensively rely on this spectrum resource for the wireless provision of content to mass audiences.

Amendment     4

Proposal for a decision

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4)  For Region 1, which includes the Union, the International Telecommunication Union’s Radio Regulations adopted by the World Radiocommunication Conference have allocated the 700 MHz frequency band to the broadcasting and the mobile (except aeronautical mobile) service on a co-primary basis, and the 470-694 MHz (‘sub-700 MHz’) frequency band exclusively to the broadcasting service, on a primary basis, and to wireless audio PMSE use, on a secondary basis.

(4)  For Region 1, which includes the Union, the International Telecommunication Union's Radio Regulations adopted by the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015 have allocated the 700 MHz frequency band to the broadcasting and the mobile (except aeronautical mobile) service on a co-primary basis, and the 470-694 MHz ('sub-700 MHz') frequency band exclusively to the broadcasting service, on a primary basis, and to wireless audio PMSE use, on a secondary basis.

Amendment     5

Proposal for a decision

Recital 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(6)  Spectrum sharing within a common frequency band between bidirectional wireless broadband use (uplink and downlink), on the one hand, and unidirectional television broadcasting or wireless audio PMSE use, on the other hand, is technically problematic. This means that repurposing the 700 MHz frequency band for bidirectional terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services would deprive DTT and wireless audio PMSE users of part of their spectrum resources. The DTT and PMSE sectors therefore need long-term regulatory predictability on the availability of sufficient spectrum, so that they can safeguard the sustainable provision and development of their services, in particular free-to-view television. Measures may be needed at national and Union level to ensure additional spectrum resource for wireless audio PMSE use outside the 470-790 MHz frequency band.

(6)  Spectrum sharing within a common frequency band between bidirectional wireless broadband use (uplink and downlink), on the one hand, and unidirectional television broadcasting or wireless audio PMSE use, on the other hand, is technically problematic. This means that repurposing the 700 MHz frequency band for bidirectional terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services would deprive DTT and wireless audio PMSE users of part of their spectrum resources. The DTT and PMSE sectors therefore need long-term regulatory predictability on the availability of sufficient spectrum, so that they can safeguard the sustainable provision and development of their services, in particular free-to-view television, and ensure that national and European audiovisual policy objectives such as social cohesion, media pluralism and cultural diversity are met. Measures may be needed at national and Union level to ensure additional spectrum resource for wireless audio PMSE use outside the 470-790 MHz frequency band.

Amendment    6

Proposal for a decision

Recital 7

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(7)  In his report to the Commission (the ‘Lamy report’)22, Pascal Lamy, the Chairman of the high-level group on the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band, recommended that the 700 MHz frequency band be made available for wireless broadband by 2020 (+/- two years). This would help achieve the goal of long-term regulatory predictability for DTT in having access to the sub-700 MHz frequency band until 2030, although this would have to be reviewed by 2025. The Lamy Report also recommended national flexibility in spectrum use of the sub-700 MHz frequency band, which is limited to downlink-only. Downlink-only is the restriction of all transmissions in a wireless system, independent of its technology, to unidirectional transmission from central infrastructure stations such as a TV broadcasting tower or a mobile base station to portable or mobile terminals such as TV sets or mobile phones.

(7)  In his report to the Commission (the ‘Lamy report’)22, Pascal Lamy, the Chairman of the high-level group on the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band, recommended that the 700 MHz frequency band be made available for wireless broadband by 2020 (+/- two years). This would help achieve the goal of long-term regulatory predictability for DTT in having access to the sub-700 MHz frequency band until 2030, although this would have to be reviewed by 2025. The Lamy Report also recommended studying flexibility in spectrum use of the sub-700 MHz frequency band, which is limited to downlink-only. Downlink-only is the restriction of all transmissions in a wireless system, independent of its technology, to unidirectional transmission from central infrastructure stations such as a TV broadcasting tower or a mobile base station to portable or mobile terminals such as TV sets or mobile phones.

__________________

__________________

22 Report by Mr Pascal Lamy, available at: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/report-results-work-high-level-group-future-use-uhf-band.

22 Report by Mr Pascal Lamy, available at: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/report-results-work-high-level-group-future-use-uhf-band.

Justification

The Recommendation of the Lamy report is to study EU-harmonised scenarios allowing the co-existence of traditional broadcasting services in the 470-694 MHz band with other downlink-only (i.e. unidirectional) electronic communications services.

Amendment    7

Proposal for a decision

Recital 8

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(8)  The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) recommends in its opinion on a long-term strategy on the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union (the ‘RSPG opinion’) the adoption of a coordinated approach across the Union to make the 700 MHz frequency band available for effective use for wireless broadband electronic communications services by the end of 2020. This would be in conjunction with ensuring long-term availability until 2030 of the sub-700 MHz frequency band for the downlink-only provision of audiovisual media services. The RSPG particularly recommends introducing flexibility so that the sub-700 MHz frequency band can also be used for downlink-only wireless broadband electronic communications services.

(8)  The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) recommends in its opinion on a long-term strategy on the future use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union (the ‘RSPG opinion’) the adoption of a coordinated approach across the Union to make the 700 MHz frequency band available for effective use for wireless broadband electronic communications services by the end of 2022. This would be in conjunction with ensuring long-term availability at least until the end of 2030 of the sub-700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial broadcasting and for use by wireless audio PMSE equipment. The RSPG recognises the importance of the DTT platform and the need to provide certainty for investments in broadcasting infrastructure. Therefore, the RSPG recommends that the frequency band 470-694 MHz remain available for DTT in the foreseeable future, at least until the end of 2030.

Amendment    8

Proposal for a decision

Recital 12

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(12)  In line with Articles 9 and 9a of Directive 2002/21/EC, Member States should apply a flexible approach where possible and may allow the introduction of alternative downlink-only uses such as terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services in the sub-700 MHz frequency band in accordance with national needs for distribution of audiovisual media services to a mass audience. When allowing use within the sub-700 MHz frequency band for downlink-only terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services, Member States should ensure that such use does not affect the use of sub-700 MHz band for digital terrestrial broadcasting in neighbouring Member States, as provided for in the agreement at the Regional Radiocommunication Conference of 200625.

deleted

__________________

 

25 Regional Radiocommunication Conference of 2006 for planning of the digital terrestrial broadcasting service in parts of Regions 1 and 3, in the frequency bands 174-230 MHz and 470-862 MHz (RRC-06) in Geneva.

 

Amendment    9

Proposal for a decision

Recital 13

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(13)  In any case, spectrum usage in the 470-694 MHz frequency band should be reassessed at Union level no later than 2025. Such an assessment should also take into account the planned review of this frequency band at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023. Changes in the use of the sub-700 MHz frequency band should take into consideration technological developments, consumer behaviour, the importance of continuing the delivery of free television26 service and social, economic and cultural general interest objectives. In this context, studies on technical and regulatory conditions for co-existence between incumbent and new spectrum uses in the sub-700 MHz frequency band are necessary. These would ensure coherence between the approaches taken by different Member States on flexible and efficient spectrum use and would enable technical harmonisation measures for use and co-existence in this band. Such studies and measures may be developed pursuant to Decision No 676/2002/EC.

(13)  Spectrum usage in the 470-960 MHz frequency bands should be reassessed at Union level no later than 2025. Such an assessment should also take into account reviews of frequency bands with regard to the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023. Any option for the use of the sub-700 MHz frequency band after 2030 should take into consideration technological developments, consumer behaviour, the importance of continuing the delivery of free television26 service and social, economic and cultural general interest objectives. In this context, studies on technical and regulatory conditions for co-existence between incumbent and new spectrum uses in the sub-700 MHz frequency band are necessary.

__________________

__________________

26 In the meaning of Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (Audiovisual Media Services Directive).

26 In the meaning of Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (Audiovisual Media Services Directive).

Amendment    10

Proposal for a decision

Recital 14

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(14)  Member States should adopt coherent national roadmaps to facilitate the use of the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services while ensuring continuity for the television broadcasting services that vacate the band. Once adopted, Member States should communicate the roadmaps in a transparent manner around the Union. The roadmaps should cover activities and timescales for frequency re-planning, technical developments for network and end-user equipment, co-existence between radio and non-radio equipment, existing and new authorisation regimes and information on the possibility to offer compensation for migration costs, where these would arise, in order to avoid, inter alia, costs for end-users. Where Member States intend to maintain DTT, the roadmaps should give particular attention to facilitating upgrades of broadcasting equipment to more spectrum-efficient technologies such as advanced video formats (e.g. HEVC) or signal transmission technologies (e.g. DVB-T2).

(14)  Member States should adopt coherent national roadmaps to facilitate the use of the 700 MHz frequency band for terrestrial wireless broadband electronic communications services while ensuring continuity for the television broadcasting services that vacate the band. Once adopted, Member States should communicate the roadmaps in a transparent manner around the Union. The roadmaps should cover activities and timescales for frequency re-planning, technical developments for network and end-user equipment, co-existence between radio and non-radio equipment, existing and new authorisation regimes, mechanisms to avoid harmful interference to spectrum users in adjacent bands and information on the possibility to offer compensation for migration costs, in order to avoid, inter alia, costs for end-users and broadcasters. Compensation schemes should focus in particular on the special needs of SMEs and start-ups, which do not have the same financial capacity as other firms. As for DTT, the roadmaps should give particular attention to facilitating, where necessary, upgrades of broadcasting equipment to more spectrum-efficient technologies such as advanced video formats or signal transmission technologies , with due regard for the principle of technological neutrality.

Justification

Measures to avoid harmful interference should be established. Member States should also ensure that sufficient funds are available to cover the migration costs of broadcasting services to the sub-700MHz band as well as the costs relating to measures for limiting interference to such services.

Amendment    11

Proposal for a decision

Recital 15

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(15)  The scope and mechanism of possible compensation for completing the transition in spectrum use within the 470-790 MHz frequency band should be analysed in accordance with the relevant national provisions as provided by Article 14 of Directive 2002/20/EC27, and have to be consistent with the provisions of Articles 107 and 108 TFEU.

(15)  The scope and mechanism of possible compensation for completing the transition in spectrum use within the 694-790 MHz frequency band should be analysed in accordance with the relevant national provisions as provided by Article 14 of Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council27, and have to be consistent with the provisions of Articles 107 and 108 TFEU.

__________________

__________________

27 Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.04.2002, p. 21).

27 Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.04.2002, p. 21.

Justification

The transition in spectrum use in this proposal should only concern the 694-790 MHz frequency band ('700 MHz') and not the 470-694 MHz frequency band ('sub-700 MHz') (‘Flexibility’ option removed: see amendment on the deletion of Article 4).

Amendment    12

Proposal for a decision

Recital 16

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(16)  Since the objective of this Decision, namely to ensure coordinated transition in spectrum use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union according to common objectives, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of its scale and effects, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Decision does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

(16)  Since the objective of this Decision, namely to ensure coordinated transition in spectrum use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band in the Union according to common objectives, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of its scale and effects, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Decision does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

Justification

The transition in spectrum use in this proposal should only concern the 694-790 MHz frequency band ('700 MHz') and not the 470-694 MHz frequency band ('sub-700 MHz') (‘Flexibility’ option removed: see amendment on the deletion of Article 4).

Amendment    13

Proposal for a decision

Article 1 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(1)  By 30 June 2020, Member States shall allow the use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing wireless broadband electronic communications services only under harmonised technical conditions set by the Commission pursuant to Article 4 of Decision 676/2002/EC. Where necessary, Member States shall carry out the authorisation process or amend relevant existing rights to use the spectrum in accordance with Directive 2002/20/EC, in order to allow that use.

(1)  By 31 December 2022, Member States shall allow the use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing wireless broadband electronic communications services only under harmonised technical conditions set by the Commission pursuant to Article 4 of Decision 676/2002/EC. Where necessary, Member States shall carry out the authorisation process or amend relevant existing rights to use the spectrum in accordance with Directive 2002/20/EC, in order to allow that use.

Justification

Some Member States have either already started or planned the repurposing of the 700 MHz band, whilst others have licensed spectrum in the 700 MHz band for broadcasting beyond 2020. The extension of the deadline to the end of 2022, in line with the recommendations of the 2015 RSPG's opinion and the Lamy report, is therefore necessary to ensure some Member States have enough time to adjust.

Amendment    14

Proposal for a decision

Article 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

By 30 June 2022, Member States shall allow the transfer or leasing of the rights of use of spectrum for electronic communications services in the 694-790 MHz frequency band.

By 31 December 2024, Member States shall allow the transfer or leasing of the rights of use of spectrum for electronic communications services in the 694-790 MHz frequency band.

Justification

Deadline extended for two years to be consistent with the extension of deadline for the repurposing 700 MHz band (see amendment on Article 1– paragraph 1).

Amendment    15

Proposal for a decision

Article 3 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

To that end, Member States shall assess and consult on the need to attach conditions to the rights of use for frequencies within the 694-790 MHz frequency band.

deleted

Amendment    16

Proposal for a decision

Article 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 4

deleted

(1)  Member States shall ensure availability of the 470-694 MHz frequency band or parts of the band for the terrestrial provision of audiovisual media services to mass audiences, including free television, and for use by wireless audio PMSE equipment, based on national broadcasting needs. Member States shall ensure that any other use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band on their territory does not cause harmful interference with the terrestrial provision of audiovisual media services in a neighbouring Member State.

 

(2)  If Member States authorise the use of spectrum in the 470-694 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communication services other than television broadcasting networks, such use shall be limited to downlink-only. Such use shall be without prejudice to obligations resulting from international agreements and Union law.

 

Justification

The so-called 'flexibility' should be deleted from the proposal, the sub-700 MHz should continue to be used for digital broadcasting at least until the end of 2030.

Amendment     17

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

By 30 June 2017, Member States shall adopt and make public their national plan and schedule (‘national roadmap’) for fulfilling their obligations under Articles 1 and 4 of this Decision.

By 30 June 2018, Member States shall adopt and make public their national plan and schedule ('national roadmap') for fulfilling their obligations under Articles 1 and 4 of this Decision.

Amendment     18

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Member States shall ensure the timely availability of sufficient funds to cover the costs of migration as well as the costs associated with measures required to limit interference to broadcasting services.

Amendment    19

Proposal for a decision

Article 5 – paragraph 2 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Member States, in cooperation with the Commission, shall implement all the necessary technical and regulatory measures in order to avoid harmful interference from electronic communications services in the 694-790 MHz frequency band to broadcasting and PMSE services below 694 MHz.

Justification

Practical experience following the clearance of the 800 MHz showed broadcasting services in adjacent bands were subject to interference. It is therefore essential to implement measures to avoid such harmful interference from electronic communications services in the 694-790 MHz frequency band to broadcasting and PMSE services below 694 MHz.

Amendment    20

Proposal for a decision

Article 6 – paragraph -1 (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

-1.  Member States shall ensure the availability of the 470-694 MHz frequency band for terrestrial broadcasting, including free television, and for use by wireless audio PMSE equipment at least until 31 December 2030, taking into account the principle of technological neutrality. Such use shall be made in accordance with Union law and obligations resulting from international agreements.

Justification

It is essential that the 470-694 MHz frequency band remains available for DTT for the foreseeable future, at least until the end of 2030, considering the continuing importance of the DTT platform to fulfil the national and European audiovisual policy objectives such as social cohesion, media pluralism and cultural diversity. This is achieved in particular through the free-to-air model that supports a dual system where public service broadcasting co-exists with commercial TV providers.

Amendment    21

Proposal for a decision

Article 6 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

By 1 January 2025, the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, shall carry out an assessment and report to the Council and Parliament on developments in the use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band, taking into account the social, economic, cultural and technological aspects affecting the use of the band pursuant to Articles 1 and 4. The report shall assess whether it is necessary to change the use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band, or any part of it, in the Union.

By 31 December 2025, the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, shall carry out an assessment and report to the Council and Parliament on developments in the use of the 470-960 MHz frequency band, taking into account the social, economic, cultural and technological aspects affecting the use of the band pursuant to Article 1. The report shall assess whether it is necessary to change the use of the 470-960 MHz frequency band, or any part of it, in the Union. When considering any option for the use of the 470-694 MHz frequency band after 2030, aspects such as requirements, technological developments, consumer behaviour, the importance of delivering free-to-air television and various social, political, cultural and economic general interest objectives shall also be duly taken into account.

Justification

The assessment to be carried out by the end of 2025 should not only cover the use of spectrum in frequencies in the sub-700 MHz band but also in bands above, up to 960 MHz. This would allow the efficiency of spectrum use by both broadcasters and mobile operators to be measured. Any other use of the sub-700 MHz should be first carefully assessed and should take into account various aspects.

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Title

Use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union

References

COM(2016)0043 – C8-0020/2016 – 2016/0027(COD)

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

ITRE

4.2.2016

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

CULT

4.2.2016

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Stefano Maullu

29.2.2016

Date adopted

21.6.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

7

3

Members present for the final vote

Isabella Adinolfi, Dominique Bilde, Andrea Bocskor, Nikolaos Chountis, Silvia Costa, Mircea Diaconu, Angel Dzhambazki, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Giorgos Grammatikakis, Petra Kammerevert, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Curzio Maltese, Stefano Maullu, Luigi Morgano, Momchil Nekov, Michaela Šojdrová, Yana Toom, Helga Trüpel, Sabine Verheyen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Milan Zver, Krystyna Łybacka

Substitutes present for the final vote

Rosa D’Amato, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Ernest Maragall, Emma McClarkin, Liliana Rodrigues


PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Title

Use of the 470-790 MHz frequency band in the Union

References

COM(2016)0043 – C8-0020/2016 – 2016/0027(COD)

Date submitted to Parliament

2.2.2016

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

ITRE

4.2.2016

 

 

 

Committees asked for opinions

       Date announced in plenary

IMCO

4.2.2016

REGI

4.2.2016

CULT

4.2.2016

 

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

IMCO

23.2.2016

REGI

17.3.2016

 

 

Rapporteurs

       Date appointed

Patrizia Toia

1.3.2016

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

20.4.2016

4.7.2016

5.9.2016

 

Date adopted

10.11.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

4

0

Members present for the final vote

Bendt Bendtsen, José Blanco López, Jerzy Buzek, Angelo Ciocca, Jakop Dalunde, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Christian Ehler, Fredrick Federley, Ashley Fox, Hans-Olaf Henkel, Eva Kaili, Kaja Kallas, Barbara Kappel, Krišjānis Kariņš, Seán Kelly, Jeppe Kofod, Jaromír Kohlíček, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Janusz Lewandowski, Edouard Martin, Angelika Niebler, Miroslav Poche, Carolina Punset, Herbert Reul, Paul Rübig, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, Sergei Stanishev, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Antonio Tajani, Patrizia Toia, Claude Turmes, Vladimir Urutchev, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Kathleen Van Brempt, Lieve Wierinck, Hermann Winkler, Anna Záborská, Flavio Zanonato

Substitutes present for the final vote

Pilar Ayuso, Michał Boni, David Coburn, Rosa D’Amato, Miriam Dalli, Francesc Gambús, Gunnar Hökmark, Constanze Krehl, Barbara Kudrycka

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Isabella Adinolfi, Maria Grapini

Date tabled

14.11.2016

Last updated: 6 March 2017Legal notice