Ofcom Plans U.K. White Space Pilot Project

Ofcom, the United Kingdom's telecommunications regulator, is pushing ahead with its previously announced plan to authorize TV band white space devices. In a news release issued last Friday it stated, “Ofcom has today announced plans for a pilot of innovative ‘white space’ technology in the UK, among the first of its kind in Europe.”

Ofcom is inviting industry to take part in the pilot, which is planned later this year. Locations for the trial will be chosen after the trial participants have been identified.

Ofcom has an aggressive schedule for rolling out white space technology, noting, “Following a successful completion of the pilot, Ofcom anticipates that the technology could be fully rolled out during 2014, enabling the use of white space devices across the country.”

“Ofcom is preparing for a future where consumers’ demand for data services will experience huge growth. This will be fueled by smartphones, tablets and other new wireless applications,” said Ed Richards, Ofcom’s chief executive. “White space technology is one creative way that this demand can be met. We are aiming to facilitate this important innovation by working closely with industry.”

The proposed system would be very much like the one the FCC established in the United States, with devices required to obtain clearance from a database before transmitting on any TV channel. The consultation, released last November, has details on how the system would work.

Doug Lung

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.