The birth of ETSI

ETSI was born at a time of rapid technological progress. At the same time, the European Community was establishing the Single European Market. Lack of common technical standards was recognized as a key barrier to the free flow of trade. As a result, ETSI was created with astonishing speed to meet a pressing demand.

ETSI was conceived in 1987 – by July 1989, its staff were in their new offices in a new ETSI building.

Timetable of events

  • 1986 – the European Commission (EC) led a fact-finding mission on telecommunications to the US
  • 1987 – the EC published a Green Paper which first floated the idea of a European Telecommunications Standards Institute
  • September 1987 – the Director-Generals of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) had taken a decision in principle to found ETSI
  • January 1988 – CEPT reached full agreement on the plans
  • March 1988 – first ETSI General Assembly held
  • May 1988 – Professor Diodato Gagliardi appointed as Director of ETSI
  • July 1988 – first ETSI Technical Assembly held

Since then there have been many notable landmarks in our history including technical achievements which have helped to shape information and communications technologies both in Europe and around the world.

Our headquarters

When Sophia Antipolis was chosen as the location for the new institute, the site was an empty plot. France Telecom rented space for ETSI to use until a new building could be constructed.

  • March 1988 – ETSI set up business temporarily in the AFME (the former French Agency for Energy Usage) building, about 200m from where ETSI is now
  • April 1988 – the first stone of its new purpose-built headquarters was laid
  • August 1988 – ETSI moved to the Espace Beethoven
  • July 1989 – ETSI moved into its current building