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Cambridge trial shows white space spectrum can improve WiFi

Never would have thought it
Fri Apr 27 2012, 12:21

THE TV White Spaces Consortium (TWSC) has found that the UK's white space can be used to improve broadband coverage.

The TWSC, which comprises 17 firms including the BBC, BSkyb, BT, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and Virgin Media, has spent the last 10 months trialing possible uses for white space, the parts of the radio frequency spectrum that fall between TV channels. The consortium will report to Ofcom that white space can be used to meet the growing demand for wireless connectivity, urging the UK communications regulator to put forward a regulatory framework to protect white space licensees.

TWSC's trials of spectrum white space - the 'gaps' in the public spectrum that are currently unused - took place in urban and rural areas around Cambridge. The consortium found that 20 white space channels totaling 160MHz can be used, although Ofcom currently has test licenses for only 13 channels.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said, "I welcome the success to date of the Cambridge White Spaces Trial. Leading innovators from the UK and beyond have demonstrated the potential that television white spaces can have for meeting the UK's broadband needs. Developments such as this endorse the leadership position that the UK can take in enabling more efficient use of spectrum by opening up an array of opportunities for wireless applications for consumers and businesses alike. I find the idea of using white space devices to deliver broadband to rural communities, or to expand the range and quality of urban WiFi hotspots, exciting."

The reason TWSC has so many big name firms is that spectrum eventually will be auctioned off by the government, with firms wanting to be in pole position to place a bid. While Vaizey didn't comment on when spectrum auctions will take place he did say that TWSC's report can be used as material when the government works out "how to maximise the value of the spectrum". µ

 

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