EU opens up 5 Ghz frequencies to indoor and outdoor use

The European Union has finally opened up 5 Ghz frequencies (5159-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz) to unlicensed indoor and outdoor use (see the specifics of the decision). Member states must implement the decision in their national regulations no later than 31 October 2005. To download the EU’s decision in PDF format, go to the EU website (11 July decision).The European Union has finally opened up 5 Ghz frequencies (5159-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz) to unlicensed indoor and outdoor use (see the specifics of the decision). Member states must implement the decision in their national regulations no later than 31 October 2005. To download the EU’s decision in PDF format, go to the EU website (11 July decision).

The 5150-5350 MHz is for indoor use only with a maximum e.i.r.p. of 200 mW. In the frequency band 5470-5725 MHz, the indoor and outdoor use is restricted to a maximum mean e.i.r.p. of 1 W and a maximum mean e.i.r.p. density of 50 mW/MHz in any 1 MHz band.

The EU’s decision is part of the i2010 initiative (European Information Society 2010), whose purpose is to encourage the development of a digital economy in Europe:

i2010 is a comprehensive strategy for modernising and deploying all EU policy instruments to encourage the development of the digital economy: regulatory instruments, research and partnerships with industry. The Commission will in particular promote high-speed and secure broadband networks offering rich and diverse content in Europe.

“For many years, experts have been talking about digital convergence of communication networks, media content and devices‚Äö?Ñ?, said Viviane Reding, the Commissioner responsible for Information Society and Media. “Today, we see digital convergence actually happening. Voice over IP, Web TV, on-line music, movies on mobile telephones ‚Äö?Ñ?¨ all this is now reality. To enhance investment in this promising sector of the economy, we must provide a coherent regulatory framework for Europe’s digital economy that is market-oriented, flexible and future-proof. And we must focus our research spending on key information and communication technologies, such as nanoelectronics.‚Äö?Ñ?

The EU has a huge problem with unemployment and anemic economic growth. Regions that used to rely on manufacturing and industrial companies for economic growth have been abandoned over the years leaving thousands of people without work or any prospect of earning a decent living. Although the former employees and their families aren’t exactly starving thanks to generous state and company unemployment insurance schemes, they lie idle, depressed and pessimistic about the future. The manufacturing jobs that used to guarantee a middle class life will never return and these regions are hoping that by investing in broadband infrastructure, wired and wireless, they will attract new businesses.

Indeed, if you travel through the Ruhr area of Germany known for its industrial engineering expertise, and parts of Belgium and the Netherlands that were home to a thriving textile industry, you will see old factories being converted into office space and lofts, and of course, fiber optic broadband access. Who knows if this is enough to bring jobs to these areas?