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October 3, 2013

White Space technology to help improve UK wireless broadband

The UK is to be one of the first countries in the world to take part in a first major pilot of “white space” technology, which is a new wireless technology.

White Space technology is the process of using the “white spaces” that are left un-used in the frequency band that is used to deliver digital television. These white spaces exist to act as buffering gaps between the transmissions taking place so that there is no interference between them, however the size of the frequencies and when they are available changes which means that there is no constant white space area that can be used around the whole country. However, databases compiling the available white spaces, the time of day they are available and at what power levels are available at specific locations means that electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers could tap in and use the spectrum at specific times when available.

The UK will be the first country in Europe to look to use white space technology, however we won’t be the first in the world as America and other countries have already made a start to utilise and use their white space.
The trials have some big names backing it who also want to get involved, including Microsoft, Google and BT for starters.

In Glasgow, Microsoft will be rolling out a free public WiFi service across the city using white space technology, this is because Glasgow is a city with one of the lowest take ups of broadband in the UK.

Google are hoping to be able to test intelligent databases which would be used to ensure that the white spaces can be used without causing harmful interference to other devices.

BT & Neul (a technology specialist) will be working with the Department for Transport to see if they can enhance traffic information. They will be running their trial along the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge by using the white space to transmit traffic congestion data and also varying traffic conditions to vehicles, this will then help give drivers extra information which could hopefully help ease congestion if drivers avoid certain areas.


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