Ofcom approves use of innovative ‘TV white space’ wireless technology

Ofcom has approved plans for industry to harness an innovative new wireless technology, TV white space, to offer new applications that will benefit consumers and businesses.

White spaces are gaps in the radio spectrum in frequency bands. Ofcom has given the green light to use the frequencies currently used for digital terrestrial TV and wireless microphones in the 470 MHz – 790 MHz spectrum band.

Steve Unger, Ofcom acting chief executive, said: “This decision helps ensure the UK takes a leading role in the development of innovative new wireless technology.

“It is also an important step in helping the UK’s wireless infrastructure evolve effectively and efficiently.”

White space spectrum in the TV frequency band appeals to industry because it can travel longer distances and more easily through walls than the bands used by other wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

This announcement follows a series of successful industry trials, where TV white space was used to serve innovative purposes, from internet access for ships in the Orkney Islands to video streaming of animals at ZSL London Zoo.

Ofcom is now carefully laying the foundations for industry use of TV white space, ensuring the airwaves can be, shared and there is limited risk of interference for current users.

To avoid interference, databases will communicate with these devices to give them technical constraints they must operate within. These databases identify locations, frequencies and times where white space devices will not affect existing users and will apply rules which put limits on the power levels they can operate at.

DTG Testing played a key role in this development, carrying out comprehensive tests on 50 TVs, the results of which were used to verify Ofcom’s framework for the power levels at which TV white space devices can operate without causing interference to TV.

Ofcom is also exploring how the white space from other frequency bands can be used in the future.

DTG Staff  |  17.02.2015

Previous story  |  Next story