Singapore to ease UWB restrictions

IDA's latest proposal aims to make it easier for the development and commercialization of ultra-wideband applications.

SINGAPORE--Singapore's telecoms regulator is easing licensing restrictions on ultra-wideband (UWB) devices, a move it says will give near-range high-speed wireless communications a shot in the arm.

In a statement released Monday, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) proposed a regulatory framework aimed at making it easier for UWB vendors to develop the technology. Devices that comply with IDA's technical specifications and emission limits will be exempted from licensing.

UWB, a wireless technology that works by broadcasting signals over a large spectrum, allows for large amounts of data to be transferred--up to 480 Mbps--while requiring relatively low amounts of power to operate.

The framework is expected to be gazetted by the end of the year.

According to IDA, most devices from places such as Japan and Europe will not need a license to be used in Singapore. Devices that operate out of the stipulated emission limits will be allowed but subject to IDA's approval.

Leong Keng Thai, IDA's chief executive and director-general of telecoms, said in the press release: "We can expect the introduction and eventual proliferation of UWB applications to bring about greater benefit for consumers and businesses."

UWB has multiple applications. The technology can be used in portable wireless consumer electronics like digital cameras, mobile phones and laptop computers, as well as asset tagging and tracking, and for anti-collision systems for vehicles.

Singapore has been supporting the development of UWB since 2003, when IDA dedicated a zone for the research and testing of UWB devices.

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