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TV White Space Wireless Networks Boosted by New Model Rules

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 (10:19 am) - Score 1,027
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Over the past two years we’ve seen several new fixed wireless broadband networks launch in the UK that use TV White Space (TVWS) technology (example), which harnesses the spectrum gaps that exist between television channels (470-790MHz), and this could be given a boost by new model rules.

The updated v2.0 model rules (PDF), which have today been introduced by the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) as a replacement for the original 2014 rules, claim to offer “higher availability for dynamic spectrum devices and stronger protection for incumbent users“. They are based upon the regulatory environments already put in place by Ofcom in the UK and the Federal Communications Commission in the USA, incorporating learnings from the operation of early TVWS networks.

The new rules aim to facilitate and encourage international regulatory harmonisation for TVWS, and to help countries where creating a bespoke regulatory environment for TVWS from scratch is difficult and time intensive due to limited resources and the nature of the process of developing new regulations (i.e. a quick out-of-the-box solution).

Adam Leach, Nominet’s Director of Emerging Technology, said:

“We’re delighted to publish the new set of model TVWS rules and hope they’ll help to accelerate new deployments all over the world. TVWS has the potential to bring connectivity to people and places that have never had it before, and truly revolutionize their lives in the process.

We’ve worked hard to build on the foundations laid by Ofcom and the FCC, and hope the new rules offer the best of both worlds to countries that are considering TVWS technologies. Once adopted, operators, device manufacturers and database providers alike will be able to enter new markets very quickly, and with minimal start-up costs – meaning they can launch and start delivering benefits to local communities faster than ever before.”

Bringing TVWS technology to market in the United Kingdom has not been easy and that’s partly due to the early cost of developing new kit, as well as the complexity of managing such a system. The spectrum gaps used by TVWS are normally intended to help minimise the risk of interference between channels, which means that TVWS requires a complex dynamic spectrum management system (database) in order to deploy the service without disrupting existing TV channels.

Despite these challenges Nominet and Broadway Partners have been able to build a number of rural wireless broadband networks using TVWS around Loch Ness and on the Isle of Arran in Scotland, as well as in parts of Wales (e.g. Llanarth in Monmouthshire). Performance has also improved, with the latest deployments able to offer superfast speeds of up to 50Mbps from around £30 inc. VAT per month.

Nevertheless TVWS remains somewhat niche, but if wider adoption can be encouraged then the economics of scale could help to expand the competitive market for related services.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Dave

    TVWS doesn’t offer anything that wouldn’t be possible if mobile network operators just pulled their fingers out of the a** and deploy LTE on 800/900Mhz in rural areas.

  2. Not one company with real backing, proven team of leadership and traction making equipment. Science projects and PR by MSFT for the past 15 years. Nominet and others should be careful making all of this look so real when in fact it is far from be ready for prime time. Other solutions and technologies can solve the problems. Regulators could allocate un used spectrum where there is an ecosystem of solutions. licensed 600, 700, 2.3, 2.5, 3.5, 3.65, 5GHz etc. The promise in the article go back 10 years from PR in MSFT PR. Google it!

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