The UK government will invest up to £550 million (€780 million) over the course of the current parliament to make the 700MHz spectrum band available for mobile broadband use, it has said.
The figure, announced in the HM Treasury’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement yesterday, marks a cut on the previously announced clearance limit. In March this year the government said it will allocate up to £600 million to support the change of use of the 700MHz spectrum from broadcast to mobile broadband.
Elsewhere in the Autumn Statement, the government reiterated its commitment to make superfast broadband available to 95% of UK premises by 2017, pledging £1.7 billion to do so.
Last September, Pascal Lamy, the European Commission’s chairman of the high level group on the future of the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) spectrum, issued a report that said the 700MHz band (694-790MHz) should be dedicated to wireless broadband across Europe by 2020 – give or take two years.
The UK is expected to clear the UHF band at some point towards the end of this timescale, in around 2022.