At the September meeting of the CEPT Working Group on Frequency Management, European regulators adopted for public consultation a report on the future harmonized use of the 1452-1492 MHz band – the L-band. The draft ECC (Electronic Communications Committee) Report concludes that the most appropriate regulatory framework for the future use of the L-band in Europe is the harmonization of this band for Mobile Services, while allowing individual countries to adapt to specific national circumstances in part of the band for terrestrial broadcasting and other terrestrial applications.
Limited use so far
In Europe, the lower part of the band (i.e. 1452 - 1479.5 MHz) was planned for terrestrial digital radio (T-DAB). The upper part of the band (i.e. 1479.5 - 1492 MHz) was designated for satellite digital radio. However, while technical and regulatory frameworks are in place for more than a decade the actual deployment of either T-DAB or other mobile multimedia systems in the L-band has been rather limited. Likewise, no broadcast satellite service for Europe is in operation in the band 1479.5 – 1492 MHz. This is why CEPT administrations looked for an alternative use of this spectrum.
L-band planning in Europe
The CEPT will now develop an ECC Decision designating the band for Mobile/Fixed Communication Networks (MFCN) supplemental downlink (SDL) and defining the Least Restrictive Technical Conditions, with a harmonized band plan for the 1452-1492 MHz band. This will be based on 8 blocks of 5 MHz and allow for coexistence between uplink and downlink blocks. It is expected that the new Decision will be adopted in early 2013.
The EBU has been promoting the flexibility of the MA02revCO07 Arrangement, which provides a flexible framework for the use of the 1452 - 1479.5 MHz band for T-DAB but also for other mobile multimedia systems. The new ECC Decision will be complementary to MA02revCO07. The EBU will now work to ensure that digital radio services can still be introduced in those countries where there is sufficient demand and that co-existence with mobile networks is feasible.
With access to the L-band mobile networks will gain a substantial additional capacity. This could improve the quality of broadcast services when they are delivered to mobile devices. This is another important area where the EBU and its Members are engaging with the regulators and industry.