The European Commission greenlights ultrawideband: There are a few more formal steps to be made, but it's basically a done deal. With the approval of UWB in Europe, this should allow manufacturers to step up their efforts, which are already well underway, to include additional bands. Some early UWB chips may only include the pieces necessary for operation in the U.S., and under identical regimens elsewhere. It's likely that UWB permission will be slightly different, involving different chunks of spectrum, in each regulatory domain. Thus some chipmakers started with the premise of having more flexible chips, even though it added cost and delays.
This factor is part of what drove dissent and division at IEEE 802.15.3a, a committee whose work was abandoned. XtremeSpectrum-cum-Motorola-cum-Freescale pursued classical UWB, their pioneering work, in which an entire swath of spectrum was treated as one identity and notch filters dropped signal strength in specific bands, which included the 5 GHz unlicensed band, which would have been susceptible. The Multi-Band OFDM Alliance, now merged as part of the WiMedia Alliance, had a variety of problems with that approach, including their concern that each regulator might approve different spectrum chunks. With multi-band OFDM, UWB can be divided into separate bands, avoiding notch filters, and OFDM--the same encoding used for 802.11a, g, and n--further helps improve throughput by segmenting spectrum within those bands.
The EC, according to the Radio Spectrum Policy document presented to the committee is recommending 3.4 to 5 GHz and 6.0 to 8.5 GHz for the initial deployment. This latter range could extend to 9.0 GHz if other recommendations are accepted. Development would proceed fastest on the 3.4 GHz chunk, with harmonization desired by the second half of 2007. The higher frequency 6.0 GHz chunk would be harmonized by the first half of 2008.
The US allows 3.1 GHz to 10.6 GHz to be used for UWB, with some power limitations and exceptions.
UWB faces another hurdle, by the way, which is aeronautical use. In talking with the RTCA, the private US committee that recommendations technical guidelines to the FAA, I found that UWB has raised many red flags for use in-flight due to its broad nature, and the lack of testing so far with how extremely low-power pulses overlaid on aeronautic frequencies will affect flight systems. (You can read their meeting reports here.)