Ofcom to fill TV white spaces with Wi-Fi

Ofcom has put forward plans to run an ‘enhanced Wi-Fi’ service using the “White Spaces” within the existing TV spectrum.
White spaces are the “clear” channels or “buffer” channels close to the operational channels in each broadcast area which are left unused to make receiving equipment design easier.
The White Spaces are different from area to area and for the system to operate equipments will have to consult a list of free channels in its area, which would be hosted by on line data bases. Equipments would have to notify one of these databases of their location and update it on a regular basis. The database would then return details of the radio-frequencies and power levels the equipment is allowed to use.
Enhanced Wi-Fi would operate at between 470 and 790MHz, enabling networks to work right across towns and cities, as opposed to existing 2.4GHz networks which have limited range.
Ofcom’s chief executive, Ed Richards said that the UK would be the first country to launch such a service that would be capable of covering twice the range of Wi-Fi technology available today. The regulator went on to say that recycling the spectrum was a highly efficient way of making use of limited resources. It is anticipated that the available spectrum would be equal to that currently available to 3G services and significantly more in some locations.
Ofcom expects that White Space technology could be launched in the UK in 2013.
Ofcom is also considering the future use of other white spaces, such as those in the band currently used by FM radio services.
Trials of the technology are currently taking place on the island of Bute in Scotland. A smaller set of trials is also taking place in Cambridge.
Main source: Broadband TV News
Item added: 5th September 2011