ECC Newsletter December 2017

The ECO Frequency Information System (EFIS) and the new Documentation Database: an Update

The purpose of EFIS: a key tool for information on the actual spectrum utilisation in Europe

Over the past 15 years, EFIS has been administered by ECO and managed under the supervision of the ECC through its EFIS Maintenance Group (EFIS/MG).

The purpose of EFIS is to provide information about the actual use of the spectrum in Europe. While all the data in EFIS is in the public domain, its users are typically those from the 'interested public' such as spectrum regulators, market surveillance and enforcement authorities, radio equipment producers, providers and users, certification bodies, and those involved in standardisation activities. This includes also the interested public outside of Europe.

Since the information in EFIS is linked to a common agreed terminology and frequency ranges, EFIS is most helpful in getting information in short time and with a good overview. Professionals using EFIS can therefore save a lot of time which they otherwise would need for the collection of information from many different sources. EFIS also harmonises to some extent the availability and the way information is provided from many different sources.

EFIS is an information system and should not be misunderstood as a tool for frequency management or planning purposes.

That said, the information on the system is quite diverse and useful. Among other things, it contains information on the ITU-R Region 1 frequency allocations, the European and National frequency allocation tables and the related spectrum utilisation information. You can also turn to EFIS if you need information on National radio interfaces. Regulatory and spectrum informative documentation – from EC Decisions to ECC deliverables and Reports to ETSI harmonised standards – are also there, as are right-of-use information and related statistics.

It is no surprise that the system is such a hive of information: Some 46 CEPT administrations are publishing data in EFIS; the scope of the content is wider, and there are many new features and facilities. In addition, ECO uploads data to the EFIS for the ITU Region 1, and publishes general European Information such as the European Common Allocation Table.

EU Member States shall use EFIS to make comparable information regarding the use of radio spectrum in each Member State available to the public. Therefore, manufacturers, providers and other bodies can access this information via the internet and refer to it.

EFIS is available to the public under

Developments in recent years

The EFIS database has become more and more useful in recent years.

In the past four to five years, EFIS has been significantly expanded regarding the nature and amount of available data and documentation on spectrum usage in Europe. You can see the main evolutions of the database in the figure below.

Figure 1: Evolutions brought to the EFIS database

EFIS use has more than quadrupled from 2012 to 2016: a clear indication of the benefits of these continuous improvements.

ECO will continue to improve the EFIS database in line with approved action plans which are discussed with CEPT administrations.

EFIS Workshop on 19 September 2017

A one-day ECO Workshop on EFIS took place on 19 September in Mainz, Germany. More than 50 participants attended the workshop, which gave advice to CEPT administrations on providing information to EFIS, as well as guidance to the interested public on how to use EFIS in an efficient way. Suggestions were made for improvement and what could be added to EFIS. Presentations were provided by ECO, National administrations, market surveillance authorities and notified bodies/test houses demonstrating how they update, use, or what they expect from EFIS. The workshop's agenda, a wrap-up of the discussions and the presentations are available.

Figure 2: EFIS workshop

The results of the workshop were further discussed at the WGFM meeting in October 2017 and some actions agreed for amendments in EFIS. ECO will continue to ask for feedback from the 'interested public' and it is planned to send a questionnaire to all users of EFIS. The aim of the questionnaire will be to get additional feedback from users with the purpose to trigger improvements in EFIS. Another major outcome of the workshop is the development of a new application programming interface (API), which is planned to be used for EFIS and the new documentation database.

Purpose and renewal of the new ECO Documentation Database (DocDB)

A new ECO Documentation Database has been live for testing since May 2017 on This new DocDB will replace the old documentation database in early 2018.

A renewal has become necessary for several reasons. For example, in the old DocDB, there was neither an archive nor possibility to include active web-links in the graphical user interface. Editing of information in the database was carried out using a cumbersome system defined more than 20 years ago. The content management could not follow modern developments in terms of functionality, nor could it deal with new interfaces or features. The purpose of the DocDB is to act as the library of ECC Deliverables (everything from ECC Decisions, to Recommendations and Reports), CEPT Reports, ECO Reports, and the EC Decisions and ETSI-harmonised standards related to ECC Deliverables. The documentation is provided in the new DocDB together with information about applicable frequency ranges and application terminology, related documentation and attachments. As with EFIS, the whole library is in the public domain and the users are typically those from the 'interested public'.

The new database features a new layout, an archive showing older versions of a document, improved search functionality and linkage with EFIS — information about harmonised standards and the application terminology is imported from EFIS. National implementation information can also be provided by CEPT administrations directly via their own account, which is used for editing such information.

The new documentation database will run in parallel with the current documentation database until the switch-over. After that, the old documentation database will be available for some time internally in the ECO. It will be finally switched-off when all data is very much complete in the new DocDB and we are certain that nothing is left-over in the old database any longer.

Figure 3: Example of ECC Decisions within the new Documentation Database

A new application programming interface (API)

Taking into account the feedback received at the recent EFIS workshop and the new developments brought to the ECO Documentation Database, it is planned to develop in 2018 a new application programming interface (API), which would rationalise the interaction with the existing databases (in particular EFIS and Doc DB) managed within ECC, and thus would facilitate their future use and development.

The API is a new import/export facility to be used by users to import/export information into and from EFIS and the new DocDB database. One common API in EFIS and the new DocDB will mean that the same information is handled only one time, leading to increased work efficiency and avoidance of deviations between the databases.

With the API, users of the EFIS and the DocDB can also build their own query applications and use online data from the EFIS and new DocDB databases in their external machines. For the first time, it will be possible in a fully automated way and without manual queries. Users of the API can also define by themselves how to set out information and with which data details, based on their defined query application.

The API is also going to be used to import information from CEPT administrations (for example, National implementation information) and ETSI (such as harmonised standards and ETSI system reference documents). This will result in a much improved showing of detailed information of the applicable ETSI deliverables, for example. in connection to the European Common Allocation Table in EFIS.

The aim is to have full compatibility for the API information elements between the new DocDB and EFIS, as well as ETSI, and to focus on automating processes wherever possible. With these planned additions in 2018, a decisive contribution will be made for improving ECO’s information services; binding information together in the new Documentation and EFIS databases.

EFIS in short: Facts and Figures

The ECO Frequency Information System (EFIS) was launched in 2002. Forty-six CEPT administrations publish data in EFIS. The scope of the content is now wider and there are many more features and facilities.

EFIS is available to the public on the Internet either via the ECO website or directly under

The EFIS database was visited approximately 235,000 times in 2016 with a14-minute average visit duration by the interested public, who include frequency managers in industry, operators, administrations, test houses, vendors, as well as interested users. A considerable amount of users came from outside of Europe, from places such as. China and the USA.

EFIS is administered by the ECO and managed under the supervision of the ECC through its ECO Frequency Information System Maintenance Group (EFIS/MG).

EFIS users should familiarise themselves with the new content sections, which were added in the recent years:

  • The most common frequencies utilisations in Europe are found in the European Common Allocation Table (ERC Report 25), including the related ECC harmonisation deliverables and European standards;
  • National information: Links to National Tables/ Websites in EFIS;
  • Topic related sections for the fixed service use in Europe (ECO Report 04), short range devices (ERC Recommendation 70-03) or by audio and video applications (ERC Recommendation 25-10), including detailed information about National implementation conditions and related restrictions;
  • the EFIS module on the licensing of mobile bands in Europe (ECO Report 03) and a related statistics tool;
  • an extensive library of documents including EC and ECC harmonisation deliverables and many reports containing information about the actual spectrum use including documentation from ETSI, third parties, coexistence studies performed in the ECC, summaries from questionnaires, etc.

The legal background for the obligation to publish information in EFIS, as the 'European Spectrum Information Portal', can be found in EC Decision 2007/344/E, The Commission Implementing Decision 2013/195/EU, and Recital 24 of the Radio Equipment Directive (2014/53/EU). ECC Decision (01)03 defines the needs for EFIS for the whole CEPT membership.

Thomas Weber, Spectrum Expert, European Communications Office