Ofcom has launched a consultation about new laws that would allow ‘white space’ technology to be used the UK. These so-called ‘white spaces’ are the unused parts of frequency bands that have been reserved for other uses, such as TV broadcasting, but could also be used for other applications such as broadband and M2M connections.
Last year the regulator published a statement about its plans; earlier this year technology business Neul launched the world’s first city-wide white space network in Cambridge.
Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said “From rural broadband to enhanced Wi-Fi, white space technology offers significant opportunities for innovation and enterprise in the UK. It also represents a fundamentally different approach to using spectrum by searching and recycling unused gaps in the airwaves. This could prove critical in averting a global spectrum capacity crunch, as consumers demand more bandwidth over different devices.”
Ofcom is proposing that white space devices would be allowed to operate without the need for a licence as long as they don’t interfere with existing licensed users of the spectrum. Individual devices wouldn’t be able to start transmitting until they’d checked with an official online database to ensure their proposed frequency and power wouldn’t cause interference.
Responses to the consultation are invited before 10th January 2013. Ofcom will then finalise its proposals and will notify the European Commission of its proposed technical regulations. Depending on the responses, white space technologies could be launched in the UK towards the end of 2013.