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UK Plans for White Space Devices

This week Ofcom, the "independent regulator and competition authority for the United Kingdom communications industries" announced release of a Consultation on implementing geolocation for white space devices operating on unused TV channels in the United Kingdom. The proposed plan is similar to the recent FCC ruling allowing white-space devices in the United States to use geolocation to determine what frequencies were available.

"The airwaves that wireless devices depend on are becoming increasingly congested," said Professor William Webb, director of technology resources at Ofcom, said. "Using the white spaces between TV channels is a good example of how we can both use spectrum more efficiently and provide opportunities for innovative new applications and services. Our role is to encourage innovation rather than decide on what technology and applications should succeed. To that end, we hope that these frequencies, which offer improved signal reliability, capacity, and range over existing wireless technologies, will bring clear benefits for consumers."

Comments on the Ofcom consultation are due Dec. 7. The next step for Ofcom is to propose a draft Statutory instrument to make white space devices license exempt. Ofcom expects to have the regulatory framework for white space devices in place by the end of 2011.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.