ERG/RSPG Joint Session
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ERG/RSPG Joint Session Göteborg, Sweden ‘Spectrum Policy for the Many Possible Futures of Broadband in Europe’ February 27 2008. Martin Cave Warwick Business School, UK [email protected] The Issue is High Speed Broadband. Platform Endowments in Europe.

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Martin Cave Warwick Business School, UK [email protected]

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ERG/RSPG Joint SessionGöteborg, Sweden‘Spectrum Policy for the Many Possible Futures of Broadband in Europe’February 27 2008

Martin Cave

Warwick Business School, UK

[email protected]


The Issue is High Speed Broadband


Platform Endowments in Europe

2F + WUpgraded cable system, ubiquitous DSL, 3G networks (30-40%)

F + W(Near) ubiquitous DSL, 3G (50-60%)

W Wireless only- 2G/3G (3-8%)


Cable and DSL in the EU15 (millions and %)


What Triggers NGA Investment?

  • Revenue loss to current competitors

  • Fear of pre-emption by rival NGA

  • Regulatory certainty (cf. Australian approach)

  • Prospect of adequate (non truncated) return


Key Issue for Regulators

How many competitors are enough?

  • 2F + wireless (US generally, WBA in Malta)

  • ≥ 4 (Ofcom WBA notification)


Intermediate Regulation in the Absence of Effective Competition

Access with

  • higher cost of capital

  • pricing flexibility

  • limitations on capacity of mandated service (basic or ‘anchor’ product only)

  • limitations on PoI- but the ‘ladder’ may be broken.


The Role of Wireless

Uncertainty about future capabilities

Competitive platforms:

  • LTE (long term evolution)

  • WiMax

  • UMB (ultra mobile broadband)

    Whether it is the only option or a competitive constraint, wireless opportunities must be maximised.


Making Spectrum Available on Flexible Basis

  • Minimum restrictions on existing assignments

  • Refarming regimes to minimise downtime

  • Licensing of additional spectrum as quickly as possible, without restrictions on use

  • Minimising impediments to trade and change of use

  • Consider synchronising transactions- the ‘big bang’




The UK Frequency Allocations 20XX?

Not Allocated


Not Allocated

Not Allocated

Not Allocated

Not Allocated

300 GHz


The contribution of the public sector

  • Public sector users account for about half use of ‘beachfront spectrum’ in the EU

  • Typically, they- especially defence ministries- are subject to little scrutiny

  • Option 1-encourage spectrum release by monetary incentives and spectrum pricing

  • Option 2-make them part of the market system , as buyers or (more plausibly) sellers

  • see


What Level of Harmonisation in the EU?

  • Focus on harmonisation of spectrum management techniques, not harmonisation of spectrum use

  • De facto harmonisation will follow from manufacturer/operator interaction, subject to competition

  • EU power needed to harmonise tradable frequencies etc.

  • Digital dividend is a test case.


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