Wireless broadband technologies hold promise for all countries seeking to ensure
the availability of access to information communication technologies (ICT) and
the creation of the Information Society. The ICT sector can improve standards
of living and quality of life and boost productivity and competitiveness in
the global and national economies. Broadband is an essential component of ICT.
It is bringing new multimedia services to consumers for work and leisure, making
them better-informed and more involved citizens and promoting economic and societal
progress. With the advent of digital convergence and the Internet, wireless
broadband offers the prospect of faster rollout of services, portability and
mobility, making a reality of the vision of Ďany content, any time, any place,
anywhereí in the global information society. Wireless broadband technologies
are set to close the broadband divide that exists between developing and developed
countries. Wireless broadband, of course, will also require more spectrum (see
is a scarce resource that needs to be managed effectively and efficiently in
order to derive maximum economic and social benefit, including encouraging growth
and rapid deployment of infrastructure and services for consumers. This requires
innovative approaches to managing the spectrum dynamically to succeed in making
spectrum available for broadband and other new services. As recognized by the
2004 Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR), within the spirit of transparency,
objectivity, non-discrimination, and with the goal of the most efficient spectrum
use, the onus is on legislators and regulators to adjust, alter or reform their
regulatory codes, wherever possible, to dismantle unnecessary rules which today
may adversely affect the operation of wireless technologies and systems. A new
set of spectrum management principles and practices, within regulatorsí respective
mandate, will enable countries to harness the full potential of wireless broadband
technologies. However, this cannot be done in isolation. A broad approach, including
other regulatory instruments, as outlined in the GSR 2003 and 2004 Best Practice
Guidelines to promote universal access, and low cost broadband, are necessary.
the regulators participating in the 2005 Global Symposium for Regulators, have
identified the following set of best practice guidelines for spectrum management
to promote broadband access:
Facilitate deployment of innovative broadband technologies. Regulators are
encouraged to adopt policies to promote innovative services and technologies.
Such polices may include:
spectrum in the public interest.
innovation and the introduction of new radio applications and technologies.
Reducing or removing unnecessary restrictions on spectrum use.
harmonized frequency plans defined by ITU-R recommendation in order
to facilitate the implementation of competition.
the principle of minimum necessary regulation, where possible, to reduce
or eliminate regulatory barriers to spectrum access, including simplified
licence and authorization procedures for the use of spectrum resources
frequencies in a manner to facilitate entry into the market of new competitors.
that broadband wireless operators have as wide a choice as possible
of the spectrum they may access, and releasing spectrum to the market
as soon as possible.
- Promote transparency:
Regulators are encouraged to adopt transparent and non-discriminatory spectrum
management policies to ensure adequate availability of spectrum, provide
regulatory certainty and to promote investment. These policies may include:
out public consultations on spectrum management policies and procedures
to allow interested parties to participate in the decision-making process,
consultations before changing national frequency allocation plans;
consultations on spectrum management decisions likely to affect
a stable decision-making process that provides certainty that the grant
of radio spectrum is done in accordance with principles of openness,
transparency, objectivity--based on a clear and publicly available set
of criterion which is published on the regulatorís website--and non-discrimination
and that such grants will not be changed by the regulator without good
of forecasts of spectrum usage and allocation needs, in particular on
the regulatorís website.
of frequency allocation plans, including frequencies available for wireless
broadband access, in particular on the regulatorís website.
of a web-based register that gives an overview of assigned spectrum
rights, vacant spectrum, and licence-free spectrum, balancing any concerns
for confidential business information or public security.
defining and publishing radio frequency spectrum usersí rights and obligations,
including on the regulatorís website.
defining and publishing licensing and authorization rules and procedures,
including on the regulatorís website.
of legal requirements for imported equipment and foreign investment,
in particular on the relevant government agency website.
- Embrace technology
neutrality. To maximize innovation, create conditions for the development
of broadband services, reduce investment risks and stimulate competition
among different technologies, regulators can give industry the freedom and
flexibility to deploy their choice of technologies and decide on the most
appropriate technology in their commercial interest rather than regulators
specifying the types of technologies to be deployed, or making spectrum
available for a preferred broadband application, taking into consideration
the need for and cost of interoperable platforms.
can take into consideration technological convergence, facilitating
spectrum use for both fixed and mobile services, ensuring that similar
services are not subject to disparate regulatory treatment.
can provide technical guidelines on ways to mitigate inter-operator
can ensure that bands are not allocated for the exclusive use of particular
services and that spectrum allocations are free of technology and service
constraints as far as possible.
- Adopt flexible
use measures: Regulators are encouraged to adopt flexible measures for the
use of spectrum for wireless broadband services. Such measures may include:
barriers to entry and providing incentives for small market players
by allowing broadband suppliers to begin operations on a small scale
at very low cost, without imposing onerous rollout and coverage conditions,
to enable small market players to gain experience in broadband provision
and to test market demand for various broadband services.
that wireless broadband services may be used for both commercial and
non-commercial uses (e.g., for community initiatives or public and social
purposes) and that broadband wireless spectrum can be allocated for
non-commercial uses with lower regulatory burdens, such as reduced,
minimal or no spectrum fees; regulators can also allocate and assign
spectrum for community or non-commercial use of broadband wireless services.
through flexible licensing mechanisms that wireless broadband technologies
can provide a full range of converged services.
lighter regulatory approaches in rural and less congested areas, such
as flexible regulation of power levels, the use of specialized antennas,
the use of simple authorizations, the use of geographic licensing areas,
lower spectrum fees and secondary markets in rural areas.
that in markets where spectrum scarcity is an issue, the introduction
of mechanisms such as secondary markets can in some cases foster innovation
and free-up spectrum for broadband use.
the role that both non-licensed (or licence-exempt) and licensed spectrum
can play in the promotion of broadband services, balancing the desire
to foster innovation with the need to control congestion and interference.
One measure that could be envisaged is, for example, to allow small
operators to start operations using licence-exempt spectrum, and then
moved to licensed spectrum when the business case is proved.
- The promotion
of shared-use bands, as long as interference is controlled. Spectrum
sharing can be implemented on the basis of geography, time or frequency
strategies and implement mechanisms for clearing bands for new services
the need for cost-effective backhaul infrastructure from rural and semi-rural
areas, regulators can consider the use of point-to-point links within
other bands, in line with national frequency plans, including any bands
for broadband wireless access.
- Ensure affordability.
Regulators can apply reasonable spectrum fees for wireless broadband technologies
to foster the provision of innovative broadband services at affordable prices,
and minimize unreasonable costs that are barriers to entry. Higher costs
of access to spectrum further reduces the economic viability in rural and
under-served areas. Auctions and tender processes can also be managed to
meet these goals.
- Optimize spectrum
availability on a timely basis. Regulators are encouraged to provide effective
and timely spectrum use and equipment authorizations to facilitate the deployment
and interoperability of infrastructure for wireless broadband networks.
Regulators are also encouraged to make all available spectrum bands for
offer, subject to overall national ICT master-plans, in order that prices
are not pushed up due to restrictive supply and limited amount of spectrum
made available and so that opportunities to use new and emerging technologies
can be accommodated in a timely manner. In addition, special research or
test authorizations could be issued to promote the development of innovative
- Manage spectrum
efficiently. Spectrum planning is necessary to achieve efficient and effective
spectrum management on both a short-term and long-term basis. Spectrum can
be allocated in an economic and efficient manner, and by relying on market
forces,economic incentives and technical innovations. Regulators can promote
advanced spectrum efficient technologies that allow co-existence with other
radio communications services, using interference mitigation techniques,
for example, dynamic frequency selection. Regulators can provide swift and
effective enforcement of spectrum management policies and regulations.
- Ensure a level
playing field. To prevent spectrum hoarding, especially by incumbents, regulators
can set a limit on the maximum amount of spectrum that each operator can
international and regional practices and standards. Regulators can, as far
as practicable, harmonize effective domestic and international spectrum
practices and utilize regional and international standards whenever possible,
and where appropriate, reflect them in national standards, balancing harmonization
goals with flexibility measures. This could include harmonization of spectrum
for broadband wireless access that could generate economies of scale in
the production and manufacture of equipment and network infrastructure.
Likewise, global harmonization of standards to ensure interoperability between
different vendorís user terminals and network equipment can be promoted.
The use of open, interoperable, non-discriminatory and demand-driven standards
meets the needs of users and consumers. Coordination agreements with neighbors,
either on a bilateral or multilateral basis, can hasten licensing and facilitate
- Adopt a broad
approach to promote broadband access. Spectrum management alone is inadequate
to promote wireless broadband access. A broad approach, including other
regulatory instruments; such as effective competitive safeguards, open access
to infrastructure, universal access/service measures, the promotion of supply
and demand, licensing, roll-out and market entry measures; the introduction
of data security and usersí rights, where appropriate; encouraging the lowering
or removal of import duties on wireless broadband equipment; as well as
development of backbone and distribution networks is necessary.
(*) original version