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Is it the end of that TV white noise…

4 March 2015

…not quite but Ofcom has announced its decision to allow new wireless technology access to the unused parts of the radio spectrum in the 470 to 790 MHz frequency band; the TV white spaces.

“White spaces” are spectrum frequencies that are not being used by existing licensees and, given the increasing number of wireless devices and the demands this places on the spectrum, Ofcom has been exploring how white spaces can be made available.

As a result of numerous consultations, Ofcom has reached a decision enabling wireless devices access to the TV white spaces, subject to such devices meeting minimum technical specifications. It is thought that these devices would be used to transmit and receive wireless signals for applications such as enhanced broadband, broadband access for rural communities or innovative machine-to-machine networks.

The use of the TV white spaces will be controlled by databases which will monitor the locations and users of wireless white space devices. The information generated from these databases will control the access to the spectrum band and, importantly, ensure that such use does not cause harmful interference to the existing users of the spectrum; one of Ofcom’s key principles in allowing access to the spectrum.

Ofcom has developed a framework that should allow the use of the TV white spaces to get underway and provide an opportunity for markets in both applications and equipment to develop whilst also achieving the aim of low probability of harmful interference to existing users.

To read Ofcom’s decision and a more detailed understanding of its approach, please read http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/white-space-coexistence/statement

Ofcom hopes to complete the implementation of its decisions so the new technology can be deployed by the end of 2015.