Minister White launches consultation on Spectrum Policy

Review of Ireland’s radio frequency spectrum policy announced

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White T.D., today published a spectrum policy consultation paper. The Minister said “This consultation marks the first step in a comprehensive review of Ireland’s radio frequency spectrum policy and a further step in meeting the commitments made in the National Broadband Plan”.

The review of spectrum policy is timely and important. The importance of spectrum was recognised in the National Broadband Plan which saw a need for a review of spectrum policy to advance commercial investment in mobile technologies. “As demand for applications that rely on spectrum continues apace, Government is determined to ensure that the Irish spectrum planning and management regime is sufficiently responsive” Minister White said. “It is important that it supports competition, innovation, research and development in new spectrum-based services and applications and contributes to sustainable economic and social development.”

Government recognises that spectrum is a valuable national asset and is critical to Ireland’s economic wellbeing. The fact that mobile operators will pay €864 million for the spectrum that was auctioned by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) in 2012 is testament to its value. That auction has resulted in the rollout of 4G services by mobile operators in Ireland and citizens are benefitting from the improved mobile services.

As well as the critical economic role of spectrum, spectrum contributes to broader social and public roles, and it is necessary to ensure that adequate spectrum is available for essential government services in areas such as safety and security, leisure uses, public service broadcasting, research and scientific applications such as meteorology.

The Minister stated “Irish citizens depend on spectrum every day in a variety of ways and in this sense every citizen is a stakeholder. In formulating a new national spectrum policy, we need to take account of the diverse use of the radio spectrum and the desired policy goals. Our national spectrum policy must balance different sectoral priorities in a transparent and clear manner. I am committed to ensuring that the national spectrum resource is used effectively and efficiently so that we can boost our competitiveness, and improve the quality of life for our citizens”.

The consultation paper poses a number of questions to stakeholders on current and future policy, as well as questions on the legislative framework. All submissions received will be considered in full and will inform the Department’s deliberations in its updating of the policy and legislation in this area.

Submissions, in electronic form, may be made to the following dedicated mailbox: SpectrumPolicyConsultation@dcenr.ie or by post to Spectrum Policy Consultation, Communications Policy Division, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, 29-31 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2. The closing date for responses is Friday 26th September 2014.