Broadband News

Ofcom to progress white space wireless broadband specification

Ofcom have released details following the consultation they held in November 2010 on implementing geolocation which would allow the implementation of technology using 'white space' spectrum. This is the range of frequencies that are available for example between broadcast television channels, and could help provide access to broadband services using wireless technology.

"We will allow WSDs to access the TV white space providing that no harmful interference is caused to existing services, including: Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services, Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) users or other future licensed users. The responses to the November 2010 Consultation and our work to date leads us to believe that this is achievable for a number of reasons, including:

  • The further work undertaken by Ofcom and others in defining the geolocation database approach; and
  • The ultimate ability of the regulator to control the emission levels allowed by databases and to prevent WSDs from transmitting if necessary, so that any harmful interference is avoided.
Ofcom Statement on using White Space frequencies

Ofcom will now look to arrange for information on what frequencies are available in different areas to be formed into a database which will need to be used by device manufacturers to determine what frequencies can be used in that area. This is to avoid interference through using a frequency that is used by a broadcaster, as these are often different in different regions of the country. Ofcom plans for devices to be license exempt and will consult on a specification for this basis.

White space trials are already taking place on the Isle of Bute by BT Openreach and a consortium of companies were to conduct a similar trial in Cambridge. The technology has been dubbed 'Super-WiFi' by some and has been tested to give the ability to offer speeds in the region of around 16Mbps at a range of 10Km.


White space looks a good idea on paper, however it will suffer many difficulties. The band propogates long distances so frequency re-use will be very difficult. Having a Transmitter on roofs next to TV aerials on the same band will cause many interference problems for TV. Same issue for access aerials.

  • kijoma
  • over 9 years ago

There is a LOT of work to be done with this concept before it goes 'live'. The PMSE industry and Broadcasters who use the White Space for Radiomics and IEMs have to arrange and pay licenses and they have been promised EXCLUSIVE use by Ofcom when required. One issue still to be resolved is what notice would be needed to shut down an existing unlicensed White Space Device in the area (via the Database?)and how frequently will these WSDs interrogate the database and exactly how? PMSE and News coverage in particular will need to operate at very short notice. I can see a lot of conflicts arising.

  • sandymacrae
  • over 9 years ago

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