Ofcom publishes 'white spaces' proposals

UK communications regulator Ofcom has published proposals for the release of spectrum in the so-called 'white spaces' that exist between two transmitters using the same frequency, after digital switchover.

This is the second consultation about the release of spectrum freed up by the switch to digital television, known as the digital dividend. Last week Ofcom published proposals for the means of awarding 'cleared' spectrum that will be fully freed up after switchover.

This consultation deals with geographical 'white spaces' which can be used for new low power services. White spaces could be used for a range of applications such as new digital television services covering a UK region or nation; services in support of programme making and special events; and possibly mobile television and mobile broadband.

The consultation proposes releasing the white spaces in a phased process between 2008 and 2011.

Users should be able to decide what technology to use and what services to offer. Licences should be tradable and flexible, to allow use of the airwaves to change as new technologies and services emerge.

The first step, later this year or early next, will include the award of white space at sites in the first regions to switch to digital television, where local TV services are already licensed. This will create opportunities for digital services covering Carlisle, Cardiff and Manchester.

The consultation will close on 21 August 2008.

DTG Staff  |  12.06.2008

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