Consultation on “White Space Technology” opened by Ofcom

Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulatory authority has announced the opening of a consultation on “white space technology”
“White spaces” are the “free” spectrum spaces between TV channels which can potentially be used for a wide range of innovative applications.
For example, technology manufacturers have suggested that it might be used to wirelessly link up different devices and offer enhanced broadband access in rural areas.
White space technology will work in a similar way to WiFi, which uses a wireless router to send and receive information to other wireless devices. A key difference is that the white space router will first need to consult a list of databases hosted online. It will describe its location and device characteristics to one of these databases on a regular basis. The database will then return details of the frequencies and power levels it is allowed to use.
Professor William Webb, Director of Technology Resources at Ofcom, said: “The airwaves that wireless devices depend on are becoming increasingly congested. We need to think about more efficient ways of using this limited resource. Using the white spaces between TV channels is a good example of how we can both use spectrum more efficiently and provide opportunities for innovative new applications and services. The proposed plan is similar to the recent FCC ruling allowing white-space devices in the United States to use geolocation to determine what frequencies were available.
The closing date for responses to Ofcom’s latest consultation is the 7th December.
Ofcom estimates that by the end of 2011, there will be a regulatory and technical regime in place to support white space technology.
Main source: Ofcom website
Item added: 15th November 2010