White space technology in the UK

White space technology in the UK

Ofcom have announced trials of ‘white space’ technology, which aims to boost connectivity across the UK.

White space

White-space refers to the underutilised area of spectrum that has been assigned to other services such as television which is unused or used as a buffer gap between frequencies. However, the frequencies and gaps are not consistent around the country, so providers will have to use smart databases to notify devices – such as mobile phones, computers and even cars – which parts of the spectrum are clear to use at what time and where.

Improved connectivity

The benefits of a smart system of white space include better data transmission, extending broadband internet access in rural or poorly connected areas, and enabling machine to machine (M2M) communication which allows devices to talk to each other, improving areas such as traffic infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare and domestic appliances.

This trial is being supported by Microsoft, Google, BT and 17 other smaller companies, with tests taking place in areas from Glasgow to the Isle of Wight. Consumer rollout of this technology isn’t expected to take place until next year, but the UK would be the first European country to do so.

Better experience

This will all result in better connectivity for users, particularly as the capacity of broadcast frequencies is being stretched by the sheer volume of devices connected to the internet, which is only set to increase in the near future.

Watch Paul Mitchell, GM Technology Policy at Microsoft, on why Microsoft think white space is so important: