Ofcom Pushes U.K. TV-Band White Space Use

Last week United Kingdom telecommunications regulator Ofcom announced it had plans for the introduction of White Space technology. The announcement said the unlicensed White Space devices would use vacant TV channels and would not be allowed to interfere with TV reception. Interference protection would be provided through a geo-location database, the same as the U.S. plan. Ofcom made no mention of the impact of White Space devices on wireless microphones operating on TV channels, although in the "Next Steps" section of the announcement the company stated, "Ofcom also plans to work with stakeholders to make information about existing licensed services that operate in the TV band available to prospective database providers."

"At an early stage Ofcom identified the potential of White Spaces, which are currently lying vacant all around us," said Ed Richards, Ofcom's chief executive. "Within Europe, we have been leading the way to try to harness this capacity without causing harmful interference to existing users of the spectrum. The solution we have devised creates the opportunity to maximize the efficient use of spectrum and open the door to the development of a new and exciting range of consumer and business applications."

Ofcom sees White Space devices being useful for a number of applications, including enhanced Wi-Fi, rural broadband, and machine-to-machine communications (such as smart meters),

Ofcom said it expects White Space technology could be launched in the United Kingdom in 2013.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.