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Ofcom Issues Update on its UK White Space Wireless Broadband Trials

Friday, October 10th, 2014 (8:57 am) - Score 470

The communications regulator has today issued a brief update covering the on-going trials of White Space (IEEE 802.22) wireless technology, which among other things can intelligently harness the unused spectrum gaps that exist between Digital Terrestrial TV (DTV) channels in order to deliver broadband services over a wide area.

A variety of different applications for the new technology, such as sensors that monitor the behaviour of cities, dynamic information for road users, a triple-band WiFi alternative and broadband delivery for hard to reach rural communities, are currently being tested and this has been on-going since the trials were first detailed in October 2013 (here).

Originally the trials were only supposed to continue into the first half of 2014, but as ever with new technology there have been a few technical issues to overcome and thus the work has continued into H2 2014. Ofcom now expects the new service to launch sometime in 2015, although they don’t say precisely when and we still don’t know how many of the trials will actually be turned into something tangible.

Philip Marnick, Ofcoms Group Director for Spectrum Policy, said:

In a world where consumers’ demand for data services is experiencing huge growth, it is essential we find the most efficient ways to share the airwaves. White space technology could be one way of meeting this demand. These trials are an important first step in Ofcom understanding whether white space can be used in other spectrum bands.”

As part of this work Ofcom has setup a simple page that gives people access to several live webcams of animals in London Zoo, where White Space technology is being used by Google to stream live footage of animals onto YouTube.

But if you really can’t be bothered to check that out then here’s one of some Asian Otters, which seem to be more active than the other cams. Plus we’ve always liked Otters (alas poor Tarka), although you can still get your Meerket and Giant Galapagos tortoise fix on Ofcom’s page.

In related news we note that the IEEE are currently about to start work on another revision to their 802.22 standard for white space communications, which will broaden its scope beyond merely using the gaps between TV channels.

white space trials map uk

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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