To see a brief summary of a country's WiFi rules in the box below, put your mouse inside the country's borders on the map at left.
For more detailed information about radio regulation in a particular country, click on the country in the map, or use the "Country pages" selector in the left column. For places not visible in the map (e.g. Cyprus, Monaco, etc.), use the "Country pages" selector
In June 2009, CEPT's Electronic Communications Committee issued Report 132 on "Light Licensing, Licence-Exempt and Commons." This document highlights differences in vocabulary and application among the rules for "light licensing" and license exemption in CEPT's member countries, and recommends harmonization. The most remarkable recommendation is "to avoid in the future using in an ECC deliverable the terminologies 'Licensed' and 'Unlicensed'..." Instead, the preferred terms are "individually authorised" and "generally authorised".
"...In some instances licensing is an appropriate tool for administrations to regulate the efficient use of the radio spectrum. However administrations and especially users will benefit from a more deregulated system of authorising the use of radio spectrum. There is a general agreement that when the efficient use of the radio spectrum is not at risk and as long as harmful interference is unlikely, the use of radio frequencies can be exempted from a licence... This Recommendation lists harmonised criteria for the administrations to decide whether an exemption of individual licensing should be applied..."
"...Member States may... restrict the putting into service of SRD radio equipment only for reasons related to the effective and appropriate use of the radio spectrum, avoidance of harmful interference or matters relating to public health. It is therefore clear that money cannot be gathered from SRD spectrum because it does not fall within the 'Authorisation Directive'...
"Greater flexibility can also be provided by the removal of, where appropriate, the individual ERC/ECC Decisions for SRDs.... The EC's development of a SRD Framework Decision may undermine the usefulness the individual ERC/ECC Decisions for SRDs may once have had...
"One of the features of spectrum use in a number of countries outside of the CEPT is the application of a general power and/or power density limit below which use by SRDs is taken out of the usual regulatory process. Details on this are provided in Section 10 of this report. It is a conclusion of this Report that CEPT be tasked to investigate the possibility of developing such a limit for CEPT countries...
"In addition, there is a need for consideration of possible generic low power limits across the spectrum. In the same way that there will be troughs to protect sensitive allocations, there can be chimneys where spectrum use is less sensitive, for example, ISM bands. These general limits can be used to introduce a new class of SRDs. This might be called 'Ultra Low Power narrow and wide band for very short range SRD applications.'..."
European Communications Office Reports - this is a new series begun in 2008 and as it happens the first two reports both concern license-exempt bands: ECO Report 01 is on "Dynamic Evolution of the RFID Market"; ECO Report 02 is on "The impact of receiver parameters on spectrum management regulations -
A Pilot Study". The second report is specifically about 863-870 MHz and the impact of receiver standards on the performance and economic benefits of wireless alarms.
"National implementation of ERC/DEC/(98)25, 26 and 27 on PMR 446" - Personal Mobile Radio - 446 MHz: as of June 2004, all European countries have authorised PMR 446 for short-range, license exempt "walkie-talkie" analog voice communication except for Monaco, Poland (individual licenses required), Romania (only for businesses, individual licenses required, some channels not available), Russia (introduction of PMR 446 is being considered) and Turkey (exemption from licensing being considered, but individual licenses now required). Eight FM channels; maximum power output 500mW; radios may gateway to the Internet via EQSO. See the PMR 446 page in the Wikipedia.
During 2007, the European Radiocommunications Office's Working Group on License Exempt Commons (RA LEC) will gather data about the procedures for radio license exemption in the 46 CEPT countries, with the aim of producing a draft proposal for a common CEPT framework for license exemption by October 2007. Meanwhile, ERO's Short Range Device Maintenance Group performs technical studies on which the Commission's unlicensed device policies are based.
"Which European airports offer Free WiFi to travellers?" compiled by Karen Bryan, Europe a la Carte, 25 April 2011: "Here is the list of airports in Europe offering free WiFi used by my husband Demetrius and I, or other Europe a la Carte readers, in the last 12 months. If the airport website has information on the free WiFi, I've linked to this. I've also linked to the reader confirming most recent use of the free WiFi, with the most recent date used. and if they were aware of a time limit..."
"EC to develop guidelines on RFID," by Richard Thurston, ZDNet UK, 16 March 2007: "Speaking at the CeBIT trade event in Hanover, Germany, on Thursday, information society commissioner Viviane Reding said the Commission would draft rules later this year to amend EU e-privacy legislation to take account of RFID. A stakeholder group will be formed first to advise the Commission on the development of its RFID policy. It will report back to the Commission by the end of 2008 on any reform to European laws that it thinks is needed... Reding also said that the Commission would not tie users of RFID into regulation. 'When I come to CeBIT people ask, "What regulation are you proposing today"? I have no regulation, we must not over-regulate RFID. But we must provide the industry with legal certainty,' she said..."
"Ultra-wideband is set for standards," by Harry Yeates, Electronics Weekly, 16 April 2006: "The European Electronics Communications Committee (ECC) has approved the use of UWB devices in the range from 6 - 8.5 GHz, subject to the technical limits stipulated by the FCC in the US, without requiring the use of interference mitigation techniques. The separate national regulators now have to approve the recommendation... This means Europe, the US and Japan now have a common chunk of the FCC's original 3.1 - 10.6 GHz spectrum available, so the same products can theoretically be sold into all three regions..."
"Presentation of the European UWB Cluster to the Radio Spectrum Committee" by Heinz Luediger, Walter Hirt, et al., 3 March 2004 - for basic historical background. The UWB Cluster consisted of EU-funded research projects. They met with the RSC because CEPT's UWB coexistence studies were "inconclusive," there was no "jointly accepted interference models/definitions" and European regulators were unwilling to issue experimental licenses to advance the state of UWB knowledge.
"There is a clear, 40%, correlation between the level of broadband take-up and competition between access modes, identified as: incumbent’s own ISP; resellers of incumbent’s bitstream; LLU; cable; and other modes.
"However, there is a much stronger, 72%, relationship between the rate of change in the levels of market concentration and the rate of change in broadband take up as at June 2004.
"Taking this analysis one step further, and looking at the relationship over time, we see a stronger relationship still. We have calculated an elasticity of the relationship between change in market concentration and change in take-up for thirteen EU countries and found that for every 1% decrease in market concentration there is a 3% increase in broadband take-up.
"Our model suggest that 71% of the variation between the rate of change in broadband subscribers in the EU13 can be explained by the rate of change in market concentration..."
"It is no surprise, therefore, that the fastest growing broadband markets, Luxembourg and the UK, have amongst the sharpest declines in market concentration nor that Sweden, where growth is slow, has seen a slight rise in concentration over the period Jan 2002 - June 2004..."
"EU To Propose Single Europe Telecom Regulator End-Oct," by William Echikson, Dow Jones Newswires (via Cellular News, 31 May 2007): "The European Commission will propose at the end of October creating a single Europe-wide telecoms regulator, the Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said Thursday. Reding previously has expressed interest in strengthening the European Union's role as a telecoms watchdog. But officials say this is the first time she has given a specific timing for her reform and confirmed that she will ask for vastly expanded powers... The move underlines Reding's determination to shake up Europe's telecommunications market and enhance her reputation as a consumer advocate..."