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EC officially backs ultrawideband

Ofcom is poised to legalise ultrawideband products in the UK by the spring
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The European Commission has officially given its support to the high-bandwidth wireless technology ultrawideband (UWB).

As revealed exclusively by ZDNet UK last year, the Commission's Radio Spectrum Committee decided in December to recommend that the restrictions outlawing UWB-based consumer products in Europe should be abolished. That recommendation has now become official European Commission policy, with the goal of allowing standardised UWB products to be quickly developed and marketed across the European Union.

A spokesperson for Ofcom said on Thursday that the UK regulator welcomed the decision and would now "consult for 28 days on how we propose to implement the EC Decision in UK regulations in the spring".

UWB technology's first application seems set to be in wireless USB, which will be followed closely by UWB's incorporation into the third generation of Bluetooth. It is these types of "mass-market consumer electronics applications", estimated to constitute 90 percent of the potential market for UWB, which the Commission has now authorised.

The other 10 percent includes applications such as ground or wall-probing radars, which were already licensed in the UK for "a very small community of professionals" in the surveying business, according to Ofcom. UWB can also be used for high-precision location-finding as, unlike GPS, it works indoors.

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