Norway’s Ministry of Transport & Communications (MoTC) has said that it expects 100% of the country’s households to have access to broadband in the near future at what it has termed a basic good quality. To achieve this aim it has revealed that under the terms of the forthcoming auction of spectrum suitable for mobile broadband services, winning bidders will be required to provide coverage to 98% of the population. Meanwhile, the state will also spend at least NOK150 million (USD26.8 million) on the development of broadband in areas which currently have no coverage.
Having said that it has now decided the overall framework for the 800MHz auction, the MoTC has confirmed that operators will be required to reach the 98% mobile broadband coverage level within five years of a concession being issued. Further, it is understood that services offered will be required to provide average downlink rates of at least 2Mbps. As per the auction terms, and with an eye on ensuring competition in the sector, a cap of 2×10MHz will be implemented for the sale of 800MHz frequencies, although this will reportedly only apply to those operators which already have significant mobile spectrum holdings. Frequencies in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands are also expected to be auctioned simultaneously with the 800MHz spectrum, and the MoTC has said that a cap of 2×20MHz will apply to 1800MHz spectrum, while in the 900MHz band there will be a cap of 2×15MHz. One element of the sale process yet to be finalised relates to timing, with the ministry having said it will make an announcement regarding the scheduling of the auction at a later date.