White Space Technology Could Launch Next Year Says Ofcom

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Ofcom says white space technology could be used for enhanced Wi-Fi networks and rural broadband

White Space technologies could be deployed in the UK as early as next year after Ofcom published detailed proposals for a potential framework.

The closing date to respond to the consultation is 10 January 2013, after which the final proposals will be submitted to the European Commission next year, allowing it to respond to the proposals and for member states to offer their thoughts.

White Spaces are gaps in the radio sspectrum that exist between frequency bands that have been reserved for television broadcasts. Compared to other forms of wireless technology, like Bluetooh and Wi-Fi, signals are able to travel further and transmit easily through walls.

Ofcom White Space proposals

Ofcom says the use of these spaces will allow for more efficient use of the spectrum and increase capacity. Potential uses for white space technology include enhanced Wi-Fi networks, rural broadband and machine-to-machine communications.

“Spectrum itself is a limited resource that is in huge demand, fuelled by the recent explosion in smartphones use and other wireless applications,” said the communications watchdog. “White space devices offer a creative and efficient way to use spectrum that would otherwise lay fallow.”

Ofcom says that its proposals will not interfere with existing licenses users of the spectrum, chiefly digital terrestrial television (DTT) and wireless microphones, and that there will be no need for a license to deploy White Space devices, but this would require new legislation.

Devices would not be able to start transmitting until they receive clearance from an online database maintained by Ofcom, which would provide updated information on where the White Spaces are and the power level that devices would need to be restricted to if they wanted to use them.

Ofcom recently outlined its plans to free up and auction some spectrum in the 700MHz band as part of its preparation for ‘5G’ mobile services.

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