Digital UK – the company which supports the UK’s terrestrial TV service and its viewers – has called on UK comms regulator Ofcom to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to protect terrestrial television services from interference which could be caused by the use of the so-called White Spaces – the gaps in the spectrum used by terrestrial television that could potentially be used by new devices for communications and services in some areas.
The call came in the body’s response to Ofcom’s consultation – TV White Spaces: approach to coexistence. The joint submission, which represents the views of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva, expresses support for the principle of developing White Space Devices and Ofcom’s plans to explore ways of making more efficient use of spectrum.
Digital UK says that if deployed effectively, this area of innovation is expected to offer significant benefits for consumers, the broadcast industry and wider stakeholders. Potential applications identified by Ofcom include WiFi hotspots, rural broadband and machine-to-machine communications.
Specific concerns include the impact on viewers using indoor aerials and the uncertainty caused by potential future changes in the amount of spectrum allocated to terrestrial television.
The consultation set out Ofcom’s proposals for calculating White Space availability in the UK in a way that ensures these devices can coexist with other spectrum users.
Ofcom said that any suggestion that its proposals would compromise TV services was “unfounded”, having designed its White Spaces plans in a way that protects against interference to the airwaves.