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France votes for 700 MHz reallocation

France’s National Assembly has voted unanimously to accept a socialist party proposal to allow the allocation to mobile telephony of frequencies in the 700 MHz band currently used by digital terrestrial television, as well as the modernisation of DTT in France.

“On a very technical appearance, this text has great political significance,” declared Fleur Pellerin, Minister of Culture and Communication.

The provisions authorise the government to amend, by regulatory means, existing broadcasting standards to reflect new distribution and compression standards as the broadcasting market evolves, without the need, at each technological step-change, to introduce new legislation.

France’s telecoms regulator ARCEP on June 19 revealed details of its proposed allocation plans for the freed-up 700 MHz band, which will see 2×30 MHz of spectrum offered to mobile operators to enable them to keep pace with increases in consumption, with the Government deeming it vital that they be allocated new frequency bands, and particularly bands in the lower frequencies whose propagation properties are especially well suited to the task.

This band will be freed up progressively across the country, between April 2016 and June 2019.

ARCEP has submitted its draft decisions on the future assignment and allocation of the 700 MHz band to the members of the Electronic communications advisory committee, CCCE (commission consultative des communications électroniques) for their opinion.

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