The European Commission's Radio Spectrum Committee has given the green light to UWB (ultrawideband), paving the way for the technology to be used in Europe as early as February 2007.

The committee gave what's known as a "positive regulatory opinion", which means the decision will now be formally adopted by the Commission and will then become binding EU law, said Mona Lund, a press officer for the European Commission.

UWB is a wireless technology that can transmit data at 480Mbps (bits per second) and is designed primarily to move data over short ranges. Applications could include sending video from a computer to a television or photos from a digital camera to a computer.

Lund could not reveal the restrictions that will be put in place to prevent UWB from interfering with other wireless devices, but said that the Commission will publish the regulations over the next few days.

The committee was mindful of existing restrictions on UWB that have already been set in other regions of the world. "Globally harmonised products would of course benefit consumers, and we believe there is sufficient overlap between the UWB regulations in the US and in the EU to encourage manufacturers to produce equipment that can be used in different regions," Lund said.

UWB is expected to be used as a cable replacement. Developers of IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) products are creating UWB devices that can wirelessly send video from an end user's DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) router, for example, to a set-top box connected to a TV.