Ireland could be a world leader in wireless spectrum

26 Jan 2009

Ireland has the potential to be a world leader in the development of innovative uses of wireless spectrum, industry leaders were told last week.

IBEC’s Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF) Telecoms Technology Industry Group seminar on “Innovation using Spectrum” in Dublin heard last week how the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting provides enormous opportunities for the provision of new services, which could boost the economy.

“Potential new services that could be made available to consumers include digital terrestrial television and significantly improved wireless and mobile broadband services,” said TIF director Tommy McCabe.

“The spectrum could also be used to get services to rural communities, which are currently unable to benefit from all existing offerings.

“The total contribution of industries dependent for their operation on spectrum in 2006 is estimated to be almost €2.8bn or 1.67pc of GDP (source ComReg), we believe this contribution will be significantly increased as result of novel use of the liberalised spectrum,” McCabe added.

Gary Keogh, managing director of COLT Telecom Ireland and chairman of the TIF Technology Group, said that Ireland’s geographic location and lack of congestion in most spectrum frequency bands means we are a prime location for spectrum research and development.

“Ireland must exploit this and become the leading nation in the use of spectrum resources,” Keogh added.

Speaking at the event, Mike Byrne, Commissioner, ComReg, said that radio spectrum is a unique resource of significant economic, social and cultural value and is the basis for important services such as broadcasting, mobile communications, wireless broadband, navigation and public safety.

“The period to 2012 promises a number of changes in the use of spectrum in Ireland, ranging from maximising the benefits of the digital dividend following the switch-off of analogue broadcasting services to innovation in new and existing services and technologies,” said Byrne.

Speaking on the “The Digital Dividend and Spectrum developments for Europe and implications for Ireland”, Amit Nagpal, partner, Analysys Mason, said: “The extended reach of the frequency band is particularly important in Ireland, as it could make it economically viable to deploy networks further into rural areas, bringing innovative services to those communities.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years