Ofcom details White Space plans for FM band

Ofcom has proposed an interesting way of using the freed-up airspace from FM radio's switch to digital - a Wi-Fi alternative using White Space technology.

The White Space routers, or transmitters, that the communications watchdog are proposing would be geolocation aware - meaning that they wouldn't interfere with other wireless technologies sharing the same frequencies.

The benefit of the White Space use that Ofcom is suggesting is that it would work alongside Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as it is able to operate on much lower frequencies.

Last week, the first trial of White Space technology (using unused TV signal airspace), run by The Cambridge White Space Consortium, started in Bute and Cambridge with some pretty big names involved in the Consortium including the BBC, BSkyB, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung.

Ofcom is stating that the FM radio band could "in practice" could also work though.

Speaking at the Radio Centre members’ conference, Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: "Spectrum is a resource that is in huge demand, fuelled by the recent explosion in smart phones and other wireless technologies.

"However there is only a limited amount of it to go around, which means we need to start thinking more creatively about how it is used. White Space Devices could offer the creative solution we are looking for."

The FM to digital switch, of which all large scale radio stations are expected to be a part of, should free up up to 50 per cent of the frequencies' capacity.

Following a consultation last year, Ofcom also has plans to publish a statement concluding its thinking in the area of digital TV White Spaces in the near future.

 

 



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