Since the beginning of the 1980s, efforts have been underway in Europe under the leadership of the European Union to create standards for telecommunications that are valid throughout Europe. These European standards are issued, among others, by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), founded in 1988. The European standards are mostly based on the corresponding international recommendations and modify them accordingly with regard to European needs.
ETSI is a non-profit organization whose main task is the binding definition of telecommunications standards to be used in the future within and outside Europe. It is based in Sophia Antipolis, a research centre in the south of France. ETSI has about 800 members from more than 50 countries. These include administrations, network operators, manufacturers, service providers, research institutions and users. Any European organisation with a legitimate interest in supporting uniform telecommunications standards within Europe has the right to represent this interest within ETSI, which enables it to exert a direct influence on standardisation. The voluntary standards produced by ETSI are based on practical experience.
ETSI works directly with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and consists of a General Assembly, a Committee (Board), a Technical Organisation and a Secretariat. The technical organisation includes ETSI projects, technical committees and special committees.
The most important standards that ETSI has developed or worked on include the Digital Subscriber System no. 1 (DSS1), Global System Mobile (GSM), Satellite Digital Radion (SDR), Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) and the Next Generation Network (NGN).