[fosscomm] EU threatens new legislation on universal mobile chargers

Guru गुरु guru at itforchange.net
Mon Jul 20 05:34:23 PDT 2009

Another open standards issue. EU is ahead of rest of world on such 
issues, but the  good thing about this is that it creates precedences 
for others to follow :-)

When hardware standards are being contemplated, software standards
should be easier to enforce. The benefits of hardware standardisation 
are mentioned in the article and computing notional savings from open 
software standards will also add to our arguments.


EU threatens new legislation on universal mobile chargers
Published: Thursday 26 March 2009

Mobile phone companies have until the end of April to voluntarily
standardise chargers or face new legislation to allow consumers to use
the same charging device should they swap phones, the European
Commission said yesterday (25 March).

"We are speaking with the industry about a voluntary industry agreement
which we think is the quickest solution," a spokesman for EU Industry
Commissioner Günter Verheugen told Reuters.

More than 500 million mobile phones are in use in the EU, and thus there
are as many chargers, of which there are currently over 30 different
types. Consumers thus have to replace chargers when they change phones.

The consumer is further penalised when phone manufacturers modify
connectors with each new model for no apparent technical reason.

This issue was raised by Italian Liberal MEP Marco Cappato (ALDE) in a
written questionexternal  to the Commission on 27 October 2008. "This
lack of interoperability, as well as being inconvenient for consumers,
also has obvious environmental consequences," he wrote.

According to a studyPdf external carried out between November and
January 2006 by the French national consumers institute, every 20 months
between 48 and 51 million phone chargers become redundant in France alone.

"If industry is not ready by the end of April, Commissioner Verheugen
will propose legislation," his spokesman said.

"This decision has to come into effect quickly to avoid further harm for
the consumer and for the well-being of the environment," Cappato said in
a statement.

A small USB charger

Meanwhile, the GSM Association (GSMA), an industry lobby, is moving
towards adopting a small USB charger as the standard across all models
in use in the EU.

"The Universal Charging Solution (UCS) – the creation of a single,
energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all new mobile phones solution – will
result in a 50% reduction in standby energy consumption, elimination of
51,000 tonnes of duplicate chargers and a subsequent reduction of 13.6
million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year," declared the
GSMA, which launched the initiative with 17 leading mobile operators and

Photo cameras, laptops, iPods and MP3 players

During a debate at the European Parliament on Tuesday evening,
Commissioner Verheugen announced that the Commission will also push for
the introduction of a standardised charger for all electronic
appliances, like photo cameras, laptops, iPods and MP3 players.

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