EU to Seek Spectrum Allocations at WRC2000

BRUSSELS (03/08/2000) - Ensuring that third-generation mobile telecommunications services obtain adequate frequency spectrum allocations will be one of the European Union's main objectives during the upcoming World Radio Communications Conference (WRC2000), the European Commission said in a policy document issued today.

The priority reflects concerns that lack of sufficient spectrum space will stunt the growth of third-generation mobile services such as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Services), which will in turn hamper the move to mobile Internet, where the EU hopes to take the lead over the U.S. However, the U.S. is reported to have placed that issue at the bottom of its priority lists for the conference, so the EU is expecting difficult negotiations, according to the document.

"If we cannot ensure sufficient spectrum availability for third-generation mobile phones, this will severely handicap the leap of the Internet from being screen-based to hand-held," Erkki Liikanen, the European Information Society Commissioner, said in a statement.

The WRC2000, which is organized by the International Telecommunication Union, takes place every two years, and this year will be held from May 8 through June 2 in Istanbul. The conference brings together participants from across the globe including the U.S., EU, Japan and developing countries to discuss the allocation of frequencies.

The second EU priority will be obtaining spectrum allocation for EU plans to create its own radio satellite navigation system, known as Galileo, to compete with existing systems operated by the U.S. and Russia, respectively called GPS (Global Positioning System) and GLONASS (Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System).

Other objectives will involve ensuring adequate resources for satellite broadcasting, satellite broadband communications and high-density fixed services. The EU views the development of high-density fixed services as key to overcoming the risk of a local-loop bottleneck for broadband services in Europe.

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