EU establishes single UWB market

The European Commission has today adopted a decision which outlines the mandatory conditions for using ultra-wideband technology in next generation wireless devices across the EU.


The European Commission has today adopted a decision which outlines the mandatory conditions for using ultra-wideband (UWB) technology in next generation wireless devices across the EU.



The decision brings a step closer a single market for consumer electronics such as laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras and televisions that can exchange data wirelessly at very high rates over short distances.



‘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 of up to 480Mbit/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 implements the Commission’s strategy to make the use of the radio spectrum in the European Union more flexible and more efficient.



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 European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) did the studies for the Commission.