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Wireless rural broadband over TV white space to be live by 2014, plans Ofcom

Ofcom is looking for companies to test drive rural broadband using the space between Freeview signals with a view to launch commercial services in 2014.

TV white space is a type of wireless broadband. It will be used to deliver broadband in rural areas that are hard to reach by the fibre broadband networks of BT and Virgin Media. The telecoms regulator has invited comment from the industry on exactly how this will be rolled out, with an aim to having a TV white space service live by 2014. 

Extensive trials of the service will need to be done to ensure that TV white space broadband doesn’t interfere with Freeview broadcasts. 

Wireless rural broadband over TV white space to be live by 2014, plans Ofcom
TV White Space exists between the buffer zones of groups of Freeview channels aka multiplexes

Read Recombu Digital's feature on TV White Space

Ofcom’s previous consultation on the technical requirements for white space devices, published November 2012, said that provided the risk of interference could be properly managed, chances of another Freeview Fail are slim. 

As the parts of the spectrum used will be areas unoccupied by but close to Freeview signals, there shouldn’t be a problem. Live trials will need to be done to make sure this is the case, hence Ofcom’s call for industry and public input. 

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: “Ofcom is preparing for a future where consumers’ demand for data services will experience huge growth. This will be fuelled by smartphones, tablets and other new wireless applications. White space technology is one creative way that this demand can be met. We are aiming to facilitate this important innovation by working closely with [the] industry.” 

No dates have been given for the start dates of the trial, but anyone interested in taking part can apply by sending an email to TV.WhiteSpaces@ofcom.org.uk. 

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