Ofcom Puts UK White Spaces to the Test
The UK is prepping for a nationwide rollout of white spaces across the country, starting with a pilot of potential uses for the gaps in radio spectrum.
Ofcom, the UK's telecoms regulator, is positioning the white spaces to bring broadband access to rural communities and to build "Wi-Fi-like services" and new machine-to-machine networks.
Ofcom will choose a location for the trial once participants have been identified and, provided it goes well, will roll out the technology across the country in 2014.
White spaces are being explored around the globe as another way to keep up with the growth in mobile data. In the UK, Ofcom says February's 4G spectrum auction freed up more spectrum for what it's calling "5G" services, and white spaces are also being explored as a way to augment the capacity in expectation of future growth in wireless apps. (See Mommy, What's a White Space?)
In addition to testing of white-space devices, the trial will let Ofcom verify its white-space database and study how to mitigate interface with current spectrum users. In announcing the pilot, Ofcom notes that white-space signals can travel longer distances and more easily through walls than other wireless technologies like Wi-Fi.
Google is compiling its own database of frequency usage, which the FCC is testing in the U.S. and trialing in Cape Town, South Africa. California ISP Cal.Net announced this week it's one of the first to bring a commercial-grade TV white space broadband network to the regions it serves. (See California Beaming: White Spaces in Gold Country.) Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading