The Spectrum Policy Forum Cluster 4, chaired by Simon Pike, held a meeting on 9th June to explore the perspectives of UK stakeholders on the spectrum aspects of the review, and to provide informal input to Government. The meeting was attended by Rick Holyomes and Nick Munn of DCMS. They described the background to the review and its current status, and the listened to the views of UK stakeholders and the discussions that followed.
This meeting builds on one held in November 2015, which had the objective of developing a UK stakeholder response to the spectrum aspects of a consultation by the Commission; this was incorporated into a response submitted by techUK.
A range of spectrum stakeholders gave an overview of their views on the EU Telecoms Framework, which were followed by questions and discussions. The range of UK perspectives was similar to the Commission summary of the responses to the consultation[i], but there were a number of areas of broad agreement:
- The UK application of the current EU Telecoms Regulatory Framework by Ofcom and DCMS was considered to represent 'best practice'. From a UK perspective, there is no need for substantial changes to the Framework.
- However, some UK stakeholders with operations in other EU countries had less positive experiences of telecoms regulation, and felt that the review should provide greater consistency in the way that the EU Telecoms Framework is implemented nationally.
- It was agreed that spectrum sharing would play an increasing role in promoting efficient use of spectrum and finding spectrum for new applications. In recent years, methods of spectrum sharing have become more sophisticated and new approaches have been developed. It is important that the Telecoms Framework, or the implementation of it, does not skew decisions towards particular types of sharing and away from others.
- There was general agreement on the importance of harmonisation in building successful ecosystems, but differing views on the extent to which harmonisation should be mandated and centralised, rather than the result of dialogue and between Government and regulators and industry. There was general agreement on the use of auctions for licence awards within a sector. However, incumbent spectrum users felt that auctions do not take account of social value of spectrum, so are challenging for spectrum releases across multiple sectors, and that award timetables have not always fully recognised the challenges of transition of use.
- Predictability, consistency and timeliness of regulatory outcomes are important factors for major investment decisions.
The FULL document can be downloaded below
[i] Summary report on the public consultation on the evaluation and the review of the regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services:
"On spectrum, the importance of wireless connectivity and wireless broadband are acknowledged. In general, industry is supportive of a more co-ordinated approach and seeks additional certainty for investments and possibilities to develop throughout the EU new wireless and mobile communications including 5G.
Member States' authorities generally underline the achievements in the field of technical harmonisation, and the need for additional coordination to be bottom-up and voluntary; some of them call for a better balance between harmonisation and flexibility. There is general recognition of the importance of a more flexible access and use of spectrum in the future."
techUK has seperately identified 7 key recommendations to help achieve informed debate and policy-making on the regulatory framework as the Commission’s legislative proposals are developed. techUK's full response to the public consultation can be found here.