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Govt starts mobile spectrum review

Thursday, July 24 16:37:02

The Government today launched a consultation paper on its policy regarding the radio spectrum, noting that the State has so far netted E864m from licencing, including from the roll-out of 4G.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White, said that the consultation marks the first step in a comprehensive review of Ireland's radio frequency spectrum policy and a further step in meeting the commitments made in the National Broadband Plan.

The importance of spectrum was recognised in the National Broadband Plan which saw a need for a review of policy to advance commercial investment in mobile technologies.

"As demand for applications that rely on spectrum continues apace, Government is determined to ensure that the Irish spectrum planning and management regime is sufficiently responsive, Minister White said. "It is important that it supports competition, innovation, research and development in new spectrum-based services and applications and contributes to sustainable economic and social development," he said.

He added that government recognises that spectrum is a valuable national asset and is critical to Ireland's economic wellbeing. The fact that mobile operators will pay E864 million for the spectrum that was auctioned by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) in 2012 "is testament to its value".

That auction has resulted in the rollout of 4G services by mobile operators in Ireland and citizens are benefitting from the improved mobile services.

As well as the critical economic role of spectrum, spectrum contributes to broader social and public roles, and it is necessary to ensure that adequate spectrum is available for essential government services in areas such as safety and security, leisure uses, public service broadcasting, research and scientific applications such as meteorology.

The Minister stated "Irish citizens depend on spectrum every day in a variety of ways and in this sense every citizen is a stakeholder. In formulating a new national spectrum policy, we need to take account of the diverse use of the radio spectrum and the desired policy goals. Our national spectrum policy must balance different sectoral priorities in a transparent and clear manner. I am committed to ensuring that the national spectrum resource is used effectively and efficiently so that we can boost our competitiveness, and improve the quality of life for our citizens."

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