The European Commission (EC) has adopted harmonised technical rules for member states on the allocation of radio frequencies, aimed at avoiding interference and boosting its efforts to improve the deployment of high-speed wireless internet services.
In many member states the 800MHz frequency is being freed up as part of the "digital dividend" resulting from the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting.
The decision means that member states deciding to change the existing frequency allocation for broadcasting must immediately apply the new harmonised technical rules to make these frequencies available to wireless broadband applications.
"This decision paves the way for the implementation of innovative broadband technologies and for the fast growing demand for wireless services to be met," said Digital Agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes.
"I encourage member states to take the necessary steps to implement the decision, so that European businesses and citizens can take full advantage of the benefits of the switchover to digital TV."
The decision does not require member states to make available the 790-862MHz band for electronic communication services, but the Commission is considering such a proposal in the forthcoming Radio Spectrum Policy Programme.
The Commission wants EU countries to act quickly in freeing up the extra radio frequency, predicting that "co-ordinated management of this spectrum" could give an economic boost of up to €44bn to the EU's economy, and help to achieve the EU 2020 Strategy target of high-speed broadband for all by the end of 2013.
Could be used for everything from search-and-rescue robots to wearable tech
Don't require the rare material being mined from the mountains of South America
IBM hopes that its new tool will avoid bias in artificial intelligence
Found by calculating the strength of the material deep inside the crust of neutron stars