ANACOM advocates spectrum re-farming to cover ‘white spots’

8 Dec 2010

Portuguese telecoms watchdog Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes (ANACOM) has raised concerns about broadband coverage in some areas of the country, according to a report on the Economico financial website. The article quotes ANACOM CEO Ferrari Careto, who admits: ‘We have concerns at the level of coverage’, citing so-called ‘white-spots’ (areas completely lacking in broadband connectivity) in unnamed rural areas. ANACOM has yet to define exactly which spectrum will be released as the country’s operators prepare to introduce their Next Generation Networks (NGNs). However, the country’s analogue TV signal will be switched off in 2012, making way for the transition to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), leading to widespread speculation that spectrum in the lower bands will be ‘re-farmed’ to provide operators with additional bandwidth.

In September the European Commission (EC) issued a recommendation to Europe’s respective governing bodies suggesting the implementation of a suitable legal framework that can enable more operators to enter the NGN market, striking ‘an appropriate balance between the need to encourage investment and the need to safeguard competition’. The EC aims to avoid the risk of market distortions occurring, leading to a climate of uncertainty for operators who want to invest in NGNs. Careto added: ‘before the draft decision we will invite operators to give a reasoned opinion of our decision’. It is believed that the country’s main players are pushing ANACOM for a prompt decision, and have also raised concerns about geographic spectrum segmentation, which they believe will hamper their rollout progress.

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