Supporting European regulation

ETSI plays a key role in supporting regulation and legislation (especially in Europe) with technical standards and specifications. To do this we co-operate with other organizations including:

  • the European Commission (EC)
  • the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
  • the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)

Harmonised Standards

Standardization has been a key factor in the creation of the single European market, the biggest unified market place in the world. The single market has benefited all involved - manufacturers, network operators and users.

See the list of ETSI’s Harmonised Standards for the Radio Equipment Directive (RED), previously R&TTE Directive.

Harmonised Standards enable manufacturers and suppliers to access European markets

  • The EC harmonizes the requirements for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) products and services via European Directives, Regulations and Decisions, which are enforced by legislation.
  • The EC/EFTA issues mandates to ETSI and the other two European Standards Organizations (ESOs), CEN and CENELEC, with proposals to develop Harmonised Standards (European Standards (ENs) with a special status). The ESOs agree together whether and how they want to respond to a specific mandate, for example, which of the ESOs will carry out or lead the work.
  • These Harmonised Standards provide the technical detail necessary to achieve the ‘essential requirements’ of a Directive.
  • By conforming to these standards, manufacturers and suppliers can demonstrate that they comply with relevant legislation.
  • They may then access the whole of the European market.

A product may be certified as being compliant with an ETSI standard, but ETSI does not provide certification services nor endorse any product based on an ETSI standard.

Use of Harmonised Standards

National governments also use our standards to enforce regulations. Administrations take action against non-compliant equipment, so that, for example, legitimate users can use spectrum without interference.

ETSI supports various European Directives through the production of Harmonised Standards including those concerning:

  • radio equipment
  • electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)

In particular, we provide all of the Harmonised Standards needed to implement the European Directives for the use of radio spectrum and access to emergency services.

Community Specifications

We also produce European Community Specifications (CSs) under the Single European Sky Interoperability Regulation (i.e. in civil aviation). CSs have a similar status to Harmonised Standards.

System Reference Documents

ETSI works closely with the EC and CEPT/ECC to co-ordinate European requirements for radio spectrum and to ensure that the necessary spectrum is available for ETSI radio standards.

  • We have a Memorandum of Understanding with the CEPT/ECC
  • We are represented on key committees within the EC including:
    • the Telecommunication Conformity Assessment and Market Surveillance Committee (TCAM)
    • the Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC)
    • the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG)

We produce a specific type of Technical Report called a ‘System Reference document’ (SRdoc) which:

  • provides technical, legal and economic background to new radio systems, services or applications.
  • advises on the need for an allocation of spectrum, in particular either when a change in the current frequency designation or its usage, or a change in the regulatory framework for the proposed band(s) is needed to accommodate a new radio system or service. 

SRdocs are typically produced alongside Harmonised Standards to ensure radio equipment is constructed in such a way as to avoid harmful interference. We usually develop SRdocs in parallel with the standards we are developing. In this way, ETSI is the route for industry to drive the regulatory process so that it meets market needs.

SRdocs may also be prepared to help users understand the concepts relating to a particular standard.