Industry regulator ComReg has completed an initial consultation into how Ireland’s ‘digital dividend’ spectrum will be made available once the country switches over from analogue to digital television in the next two years.
The regulator received 14 responses to its consultation, from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, BT Ireland, Centre Telecommunications Value-Chain Research, Eircom, Ericsson, the GSM Association, the Ireland Offline Organisation, Meteor, Nokia, O2 Ireland, Qualcomm Europe, Radio Telefís Éireann, UPC Ireland and Vodafone.
ComReg said its consultation was to debate six high level issues identified as being key to understanding Ireland’s potential digital dividend spectrum, focusing on the 800 MHz band.
ComReg said this was a necessary starting point from which it could develop a roadmap for the allocation and uses for Ireland’s digital dividend spectrum. The initial consultation is to form part of a series of consultations, each studying different aspects of the country’s digital dividend and taking into account both national and international developments.
Six respondents suggested that ComReg should take “a holistic approach” in relation to its exploration of Ireland’s potential digital dividend spectrum, particularly in relation to the 800 MHz band.
The holistic approach suggested the release of certain spectrum bands as part of a bigger picture of substitutability and complementarity of spectrum bands. For example it was submitted that the 800 MHz and 900 MHz spectrum bands are substitutable from a spectrum user’s perspective in terms of coverage and capacity, and also that the 800 MHz band would be complementary with the 1800 MHz and/or 2600 MHz bands, as the former provides for wide area coverage and the latter provide for high capacity.
In addition, it was suggested that digital dividend in the UHF band (470 to 862 MHz) should not be considered separately to potential digital dividend spectrum in the very high frequency band (174 to 230 MHz), as the digital broadcasting services currently planned in the UHF band could be reallocated, making additional spectrum available for non-broadcasting services in that band.
ComReg said it would continue to consult before deciding on its approach to the allocation of digital dividend spectrum. It intends to consult in the first half of 2010, taking into account the European Commission’s spectrum action programme.