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Watch this white space – Nominet gets busy with rural broadband

TV White Space Spectrum Broadband

Nominet has decided to take the rural broadband challenge into its own hands by deploying real-world TV white space technology in Scotland and Wales.

In case you missed it, TVWS is being considered by some as one of the most feasible solutions for broadening mobile coverage in rural areas by reallocating vacant spaces in wireless spectrum. TV broadcasting utilises a variety of spectrum bands but keeps non-contiguous blocks either side of dedicated TV frequencies available for buffering purposes.

Repurposing this available spectrum has been on Ofcom’s radar for some time, and the operator opened up an initiative last year to create and deploy a TV white space database. This database is meant to tell White Space operators which frequencies to use, when to use them, and at what power – and this is to make sure that there’s no interference or misuse of said spectrum.

The switchover to digital TV has released greater amounts of spectrum in the UHF bands (up to 700 MHz), which is considered by some to be the perfect frequency band for 4G.

Nominet is first providing TVWS-based connectivity in the most remote parts of Scotland and Wales, which it claims is the first project of its kind in Europe, starting on the Isle of Arran.

“The Arran rollout shows the TV white space can reach places that other technologies cannot, and paves the way for further deployment of this dynamic spectrum management technology,” said Russell Haworth, Nominet’s CEO. “It’s fantastic to see our proven expertise in new technologies like TV white space is now providing the key building block to help remote areas finally get online.”

Fibre specialist CommScope said it’s great to see vendors taking on the mantle to sort out the historical problem of getting remote parts of the UK online.

“… this use of TV White space technology is an innovative means of delivering broadband to the most hard to reach areas,” said Phil Sorsky, CommScope’s EMEA VP of wireless. “As part of a wider commitment, it’s certainly a promising step forward in facilitating the delivery of a wide range of services and applications to improve business efficiency and productivity.”

To be fair to Nominet, it is refreshing to see a vendor take lead on this initiative and do the work that the UK government has been bitching about for bloody ages, while simultaneously doing nothing about it.


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