Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, plans to introduce White Space technology in Britain – the first country in Europe to do so.
White Space technology uses signals that can travel large distances and easily through walls, which makes it suitable for a wide range of new consumer applications – including rural broadband, enhanced Wi-Fi, and machine-to-machine communications, Ofcom said.
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. The White Spaces are used to transmit and receive wireless signals.
Ofcom said the White Spaces offered significant capacity to help alleviate pressure on wireless networks, and said it expected the amount of white space to be comparable to spectrum that is currently available for 3G services, and significantly more in some locations.
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.”
Ofcom expects White Space technology could be launched in the UK in 2013.
Ofcom is also considering the future use of other White Space – such as those in the band currently used by FM radio services.