UK regulator Ofcom has given the green light for the industry to make use of ‘White spaces’ technology – exploiting gaps in the radio spectrum in frequency bands to offer new wireless applications to benefit consumers and businesses.
A range of uses for this technology are already being tested, such as internet access for ships and boats in the Orkney Islands, wireless video streaming of animals at ZSL London Zoo, new ‘machine-to-machine’ networks for flood defence in Oxfordshire and Wi-Fi-like services at the University of Strathclyde.
White space spectrum in the TV frequency band is appealing because it can travel longer distances and more easily through walls than the bands mainly used by other wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Ofcom is now putting in place the foundations for industry to use TV white spaces. A key part of this work has been to allow these airwaves to be shared, while managing the risk of interference for current users.
“This decision helps ensure the UK takes a leading role in the development of innovative new wireless technology,” comments Steve Unger, Ofcom Acting Chief Executive. “It is also an important step in helping the UK’s wireless infrastructure evolve effectively and efficiently.”