Lord Carter to meet mobile operators to clear the way for universal broadband


Lord Carter to meet mobile operators to clear the way for universal broadband

Warwick Ashford

UK mobile phone operators have been summoned to a meeting with communications minister Lord Carter this week to resolve a row threatening to derail plans for universal broadband internet access by 2012.

Kip Meek, a former senior official at telecoms regulator Ofcom, has been tasked with resolving the mobile operators' dispute over sharing radio spectrum by May, according to the Financial Times.

Want more Carter coverage? See The Carter Review: Digital Britain

The government's plans for universal broadband rely on the mobile operators providing wireless internet access in remote areas, but this is not possible until the spectrum dispute is resolved.

Carter has said the government will support an "imposed solution" to the spectrum dispute if an industry-led compromise is not agreed by the end of April.

Ofcom is drawing up another proposal on the matter after O2 and Vodafone rejected a 2007 proposal for them to give up some of their spectrum to be auctioned off to competitors.

The 2007 proposal focused on the 900MHz spectrum, which is ideally suited for providing wireless internet access to people in remote areas.

An industry-led compromise is likely to involve O2 and Vodafone exchanging some of their 900MHz spectrum for 1800 MHz spectrum with rivals Orange and T-Mobile.

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