The European Commission (EC) has said that the airwaves freed up by Europe's move from analogue to digital TV should be used to provide more people with wireless broadband and advanced mobile phones.
The EC has laid out plans to ensure that the freed-up airwaves will be distributed to innovative providers of technology services, which it claims could generate anywhere between €20bn and €50bn (£18bn and £45bn) for the European economy.
As much as four-fifths of the airwaves that carried analogue TV broadcasts to homes in Europe could be freed up, according to the EC.
The plans will help the European Union to reach its target of achieving high-speed broadband coverage for all citizens by the end of 2013.
"The EC co-operated closely with EU countries, the European Parliament, industry and consumers' representatives to prepare such a plan," said Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for information society and media.
Reding also called on all EU countries to speed up the move to digital TV, and to complete the switch by 1 January 2012.
The EC said that the most important part of the spectrum to free up is the 790MHz to 862MHz sub-band, which is the spectrum that travels far and through buildings.
Freeing up this spectrum will support the emergence of new wireless services, such as 3G and 4G mobile phone services that allow video streaming, full web browsing and fast downloads on a mobile handset.
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