The UK will be one of the first countries to utilise ‘white space’ technology in a test taking place over the next 6 months. During this time around 20 public and private organisations will be trialing a variety of applications with uses ranging from creating a smarter city to providing broadband in hard to reach places.
White spaces are the gaps that sit in the frequency band usually used to broadcast digital terrestrial TV. At the moment these are occasionally used for things like wireless microphones or cameras for live events but only for short bursts of time.
The trials will allow companies to investigate the possible uses for these spaces. As demand for wireless devices to do more grows ever larger this could be one possible way to get the most out of a technology that already exists.
BT’s plan is to work with the Department of Transport to test the potential of transmitting data on traffic jams and congestion across the white spaces. This data could then be relayed back to drivers in order to stop further congestion and possibly improve road safety.
Click4internet on the other hand will aim to use the white spaces to bring broadband to rural areas that had previously been too hard to reach. Thick foliage and deep valleys have been a problem for wireless signals, but white space devices use a much lower frequency, meaning the signal will be able to travel much longer distances and easily through solid objects.
Ed Richards, Ofcom’s Chief Executive said:
The upcoming white space pilot is a very exciting development, which has attracted an impressive line-up of participants, ranging from global tech giants to innovative UK start-ups. This is an excellent opportunity for the UK to help lead in the world of spectrum and one that could deliver huge benefits to society