ICC Document & publication

ICC discussion paper on mobile broadband spectrum

ICC has prepared this discussion paper to inform governments and regulators about the economic benefits of taking action now to ensure that sufficient spectrum is available to support the increasing demands following current and expected data traffic trends.

Within this discussion paper, ICC recognizes that there are many important uses of spectrum, including for both broadcast and mobile broadband. Indeed, broadcasting and mobile broadband services will need to co-exist, because no matter how much spectrum is allocated for mobile broadband, there are limits to the services offered over it, such as popular video content like sporting or entertainment events, which may not be economically or practically carried on the Internet when a high volume of viewers are simultaneously accessing a particular program.

Moreover, broadcasting plays a critical role in emergency situations, in that it reaches the largest number of people in the most efficient way. Therefore, ICC recognizes the importance of ensuring that mobile broadband will coexist in conjunction with other essential technologies such as broadcast services. With this in mind ICC supports ensuring that the essential quality of broadcast service is preserved and that broadcasters are granted substantially the same service area. Decisions on compensation of broadcasters should be taken on a case-by-case basis by the relevant national regulatory authority, taking into account all stakeholders’ views and the specific national situation. For example, in some of the proposed incentive auction legislation in the U.S., broadcast spectrum license holders who voluntarily relinquish UHF spectrum would receive a share of the auction proceeds to cover their expenses; whereas, in the United Kingdom the national regulator made available spectrum in the lower UHF band in recompense for the release of channels 61 and 62, in order that the 800MHz band could be freed up for mobile broadband. Nothing in this ICC paper should be construed as granting greater importance to the use of spectrum for a particular technology, whether broadcast, mobile broadband, or others. The focus in this ICC paper on mobile broadband is because this is a new and emerging use of spectrum.

ICC’s Task Force on Internet and Telecommunications Infrastructure and Services (IT IS) has a strong interest in promoting the development of mobile broadband services and technologies, and supports efforts to allocate and assign adequate of spectrum in timely manner to support the growth of mobile data services and the subsequent benefits to the global community.