Following more than 10 months of comprehensive testing in urban and rural areas in and around Cambridge, England, the Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium, which comprises leading international and UK technology and media companies, has successfully demonstrated the potential of television white spaces. The consortium explored and measured a range of applications — rural wireless broadband, urban pop-up coverage and the emerging ‘machine-to-machine’ communication — and found TV white spaces can be successfully utilised to help satisfy the rapidly accelerating demand for wireless connectivity. The consortium members recommend that the UK regulator Ofcom complete its development of the enabling regulatory framework in a manner that protects licensees from harmful interference and encourages innovation and deployment.
The consortium includes Adaptrum Inc., Alcatel-Lucent, Arqiva, BBC, BSkyB, BT, Cambridge Consultants, CRFS, CSR plc., Digital TV Group (DTG), Microsoft Corp, Neul, Nokia, Samsung, Spectrum Bridge Inc., The Technology Partnership plc. (TTP) and Virgin Media, and it demonstrated unprecedented partnership and collaboration while working closely with Ofcom to ensure that this technology can now be harnessed through a regulatory framework to benefit consumers and further innovation in the UK and beyond.
The consortium said in a statement: “With the rapid rise of mobile broadband and the desire to enable remote areas to enjoy the benefits of broadband, the need for more efficient spectrum use has never been greater. The UK is playing a leading role by exploring the use of licence-exempt access to TV white spaces and developing a model regulatory framework. None of this would have been possible without the support of Ofcom — and the constructive and unprecedented collaboration of the companies involved — to progress this groundbreaking mode of spectrum access.”
Commenting today on the trial, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said he welcomed the success to date of the Cambridge White Spaces Trial. “Leading innovators from the UK and beyond have demonstrated the potential that television white spaces can have for meeting the UK’s broadband needs. Developments such as this endorse the leadership position that the UK can take in enabling more efficient use of spectrum by opening up an array of opportunities for wireless applications for consumers and businesses alike. I find the idea of using white space devices to deliver broadband to rural communities, or to expand the range and quality of urban Wi-Fi hotspots, exciting. This can form a significant contribution to our thinking as we consider how to maximise the value of the spectrum below 1 GHz. I look forward to hearing the next chapter of your progress,” he concluded.
The results of this work are being provided to the relevant UK and European regulatory bodies. In addition, the BBC developed the first version of a UK-wide database, which illustrates the typical availability that might be expected for TV white space devices following the completion of the UK digital television switchover.