Uk: Ofcom progresses with new wireless technology

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Ofcom has progressed plans for the introduction of White Space technology in the UK – the first country in Europe to do so. The technology uses signals that can travel large distances and easily through walls. This makes it suitable for a wide range of new consumer applications that could include rural broadband and Wi-Fi with up to twice the range of today’s technology. The technology works by searching for unused areas of the airwaves or gaps called ‘White Spaces’ that exist in bands that have been reserved for TV broadcasts. These White Spaces are used to transmit and receive wireless signals. Recycling airwaves – or “spectrum” – in this way is a highly efficient use of what is a very limited resource. White Spaces offer significant capacity to help alleviate pressures on wireless networks. To put the scale of this capacity into perspective, we expect the amount of white space to be comparable to spectrum that is currently available for 3G services, and significantly more in some locations. Compared with other forms of wireless technology, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, White Space devices are being designed to use lower frequencies that have traditionally been reserved for TV. Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “At an early stage Ofcom identified the potential of White Spaces, which are currently lying vacant all around us. Within Europe, we have been leading the way to try to harness this capacity without causing harmful interference to existing users of the spectrum. The solution we have devised creates the opportunity to maximise the efficient use of spectrum and open the door to the development of a new and exciting range of consumer and business applications”. Here to read more.

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