EU Telecoms Ministers approve WRC-12 plan but disagree with Parliament on Radio Spectrum Policy Programme

European processes can seem labyrinthine, even to insiders. Whilst normal EU legislative processes are just about understandable, decisions and processes relating to spectrum are even more impenetrable than other processes as the EU doesn’t have exclusive competency – instead it needs to works alongside other bodies including the ITU and CEPT.

The EU’s Council of  Telecoms Ministers met last week (these are representatives of the Member States’ government – as opposed to the non-elected Commission and the directly elected Parliament) to cover a smorgasboard of issues perhaps best summarised in the Commission’s press briefing. Aside from spectrum issues the meeting covered:

  • roaming;
  • cyber security;
  • eGovernment; and
  • net neutrality.

So far as spectrum issues were concerned the meeting endorsed (following the Parliament’s earlier approval on 11 May) the Commission’s approach to WRC-12 (see this post for more details).

However, whilst the Parliament had largely endorsed the EU’s radio spectrum policy programme (or RSPP – the EU’s ‘five year plan’ for spectrum) earlier in the month, albeit with amendments pushing out the timescale for clearing the 800 MHz band for wireless broadband to the end of 2015 and calling for additional wireless broadband spectrum in the 1.5 to 2.3 GHz bands, keeping usage of other bands under review and making at least 1200 MHz available for wireless broadband by 2015, the Council of Telecoms Ministers were less enthusiastic about the Parliament’s approach and the RSPP remain in draft until a common position can be reached.

Of course, agreement on the RSPP is only the first part of the process with its implementation requiring another set of legislative processes.  More twists and turns ahead.