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November 23, 2012

Ofcom unveils proposals for use of white space devices in UK

The new technology is expected to have a range of applications including enhanced WiFi, rural broadband and machine-to-machine communication

By CBR Staff Writer

UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom has unveiled proposals for a framework that allow white space’ devices to be used in the country.

The use of ‘white spaces’, which exist in between frequency bands that have been reserved for TV broadcasting, would allow new devices to transmit and receive wireless signals for applications.

The radio waves used by white space devices will be able to travel larger distances and easily through walls.

Ofcom expects the new technology will have a range of applications, including enhanced WiFi, rural broadband and machine-to-machine communication.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said that from rural broadband to enhanced Wi-Fi, white space technology offers significant opportunities for innovation and enterprise in the UK.

"It also represents a fundamentally different approach to using spectrum by searching and recycling unused gaps in the airwaves," Richards said.

"This could prove critical in averting a global spectrum capacity crunch, as consumers demand more bandwidth over different devices."

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Ofcom is proposing a new framework to make sure that the devices do not interfere with existing licensed users of the spectrum, which include DTT and wireless microphone users.

The new legislation is needed to be passed allowing new technology to search for and use white spaces, rather than to be licensed for specific frequencies.

Recently, Ofcom said that it is preparing the UK for a 5G future to keep up with the growing demands for mobile data as average broadband speeds grow.

Earlier this month, Ofcom had unveiled full details of the long-awaited 4G auction, setting a date of December 11 and a reserve of £1.3bn.

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