France legalises Bluetooth

Bluetooth ban had affected new wireless technology connecting gadgets, PCs and peripherals

France's National Agency of Radio Frequencies (ANFR) removed a major obstacle to the introduction of new wireless technology last week, raising a controversial ban on military range radio frequencies.

France, along with Spain and Japan, had been one of the few countries with controls on the 2.4GHz radio band, adopted for use with the wireless standard known as Bluetooth. Bluetooth, supported by major wireless companies such as Nokia and Ericsson, is designed to replace the wires that connect PCs, gadgets and their peripherals.

The radio spectrum used by Bluetooth conflicted with the band used for French military communications, from 2.446GHz to 2.483GHz. Apple faced the same problem a year ago with the French introduction of AirPort, a device for wirelessly connecting the iBook laptop computer to the Internet.

France's Telecommunications Regulation Agency (ART) last October told ZDNet France the use of AirPort and iBook would be allowed, as long as it is primarily used in an urban area.

The agency lifted the interdiction 12 July, effectively allowing Bluetooth products to begin appearing on the market. The act takes effect 1 January 2001, however, which will conflict with the arrival of the first Bluetooth products later this year.

Japan lifted its Bluetooth ban some time ago.

Take me to the Bluetooth special

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