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IP/07/213

Brussels, 21 February 2007

Commission takes important step towards a single market for next generation wireless devices

A single market for a new generation of mass-market consumer electronics (laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras, TVs...), that can exchange data wirelessly at very high rates over short distances is a step closer. The Commission Decision adopted today outlines the mandatory conditions for using ultra-wideband (UWB) technology in these next generation wireless devices all across the European Union.

By removing the cables that link the electronic devices we use in everyday life, ultra-wideband technology can extend the Information Society in many areas of society,” said EU Telecoms and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. “However, to benefit our citizens, it is important that we establish a functioning single market for these devices in the European Union. By adopting a harmonising decision today, the Commission allows innovators to use this new technology throughout the EU, while ensuring no interference takes place with other wireless users."

UWB devices can transmit data at very high rates by "spreading" the signal over very broad ranges of the radio spectrum. With rates comparable to devices connected by cable, UWB is an attractive technology for the increasingly bandwidth-hungry consumer electronics industry.

While the spectrum is already used by many sectors (such as mobile operators, broadcasters and the aviation community), the extremely low transmission powers of UWB signals ensure that harmful interference with these applications is avoided.

With UWB, many electronic devices so far linked by cable, will have a wireless alternative offering the same data rates (up to 480 Mbit/s or the speed of USB wired connections available today). Devices will therefore be able to seamlessly "speak" to each other whenever in range. UWB will provide this ease-of-use to users while operating in the existing spectrum, which is currently a scarce and often very expensive resource.

This Decision is a concrete measure implementing the Commission's strategy to make the use of the radio spectrum in the European Union more flexible and more efficient (see IP/05/1199).

The technical conditions in this Decision, which must be applied within the next six months throughout the EU's 27 Member States, were developed following extensive compatibility studies between UWB and all other spectrum users that could potentially have been affected. The studies were done by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) for the Commission.

More information:

The EU´s Radio Spectrum Policy: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/radio_spectrum/

The adopted Decision of UWB and the earlier 2002 Decision for a regulatory framework:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/radio_spectrum/ref_documents/

MEMO/07/72


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