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Ofcom says device makers will not need a licence to use white space spectrum

Prefers running a whitelist policy
Thu Nov 22 2012, 14:54
An Ofcom logo

UK TELECOMS REGULATOR Ofcom has proposed using a database to act as a whitelist for devices that make use of white space spectrum.

Ofcom is in the consultation phase for white space regulations that it will put forward to the European Commission in 2013. The regulator has published some of its recommendations before the end of the consultation, saying that device makers will not need to have a licence to use the white space spectrum.

According to Ofcom, devices that make use of white space spectrum will not be able to transmit until they receive approval from an online database that is maintained by Ofcom. The regulator said that the database will contain a list of where the white spaces are and restrictions on power levels.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, "From rural broadband to enhanced WiFi, white space technology offers significant opportunities for innovation and enterprise in the UK. It also represents a fundamentally different approach to using spectrum by searching and recycling unused gaps in the airwaves.

"This could prove critical in averting a global spectrum capacity crunch, as consumers demand more bandwidth over different devices."

Ofcom is readying its proposals for the use of white space spectrum, which is set to make use of radio frequency spectrum that has become available thanks to analogue television being turned off. Last year BT, Microsoft, Sky and Nokia conducted trials in Cambridge showing the viability of using white space spectrum for wireless network connectivity.

Ofcom said that the white space consultation period will end on 10 January and that it plans to finalise plans for the databases and the technical specifications that are needed by device makers to make use of white space spectrum.

The regulator even hopes that devices making use of white space spectrum might start to appear towards the end of 2013. µ


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