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Ofcom asks firms to join autumn white space spectrum trial

Still planning 2014 rollout
Fri Apr 26 2013, 17:07
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UK TELECOMS INDUSTRY REGULATOR Ofcom is calling on firms to trial white space devices as it gears up for launch in 2014.

Ofcom has been pushing the use of what it calls "white space" - parts of the spectrum that are unused by services such as wireless networks, mobile operators or emergency services - for some time, and it is hoping to get the first devices in operation in 2014. Now the regulator has extended an open invitation to take part in its white space trial that's set to start this autumn.

According to Ofcom, the trial will help firms test the interoperability of devices using the spectrum. Perhaps the most important thing Ofcom and those firms that take part in the trial will do is find out what, if any, interference there is between devices that use other parts of the spectrum.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said, "Ofcom is preparing for a future where consumers' demand for data services will experience huge growth. This will be fueled by smartphones, tablets and other new wireless applications.

"White space technology is one creative way that this demand can be met. We are aiming to facilitate this important innovation by working closely with industry."

Ofcom highlighted the importance of spectrum white space in order to facilitate machine to machine networks and rural wireless networks. For consumers, high bandwidth wireless networks in rural communities are likely to be the most important development when services are rolled out.

While Ofcom invited companies to take part in the autumn trials, the regulator did not say where the trials will take place. Ofcom said that this will be decided once it has received applications from the firms that want to participate.

Device makers that want their products to use white space spectrum in the UK will have to seek certification from Ofcom. The telecoms regulator reiterated that it plans to roll out white space spectrum throughout the country in 2014. µ


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