01 October 2008

Viviane Reding - The digital dividend: A unique opportunity for Europe's wireless economy

ComReg Conference "How Ireland can best benefit from its digital dividend", Dublin, 1 October 2008.

Main points:

- Wireless is becoming a true alternative to wired.
- If we want to see this growth in one of Europe's strategic tech sectors, if we want wireless broadband to stand up as a competitor to fixed networks, we need the bandwidth. We need the spectrum. We need to use this digital dividend opportunity. And we need to use it now.
- We have a moral duty and also a legal obligation to balance different concerns: the economy, public service requirements and ensuring cultural diversity and media pluralism.
- Broadcasting must get an important share of the digital dividend so that it can develop new services, in particular High Definition TV and also interactive services and mobile TV. But it is also clear that we also need to reserve a large share of the dividend for other public interest services and for stimulating economic growth.
Let us jointly choose a political figure for the distribution of the digital dividend. I propose a "fair play" 50:50 rule. That is half the dividend for the
broadcasters and half the dividend for the new users. A bold step like this will show the world that we mean business. This is the only way we will cut the knot and make real progress.
- The Spectrum Action Plan proposed last week by the European Parliament could be a good way of agreeing an overall spectrum strategy for Europe – if we get it done quickly.

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