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White Spaces to change colour

Following its earlier consultation reported on in this blog (http://goo.gl/fnir8R), Ofcom has now published its decision to allow licence-exempt access to the unused parts of the radio spectrum in the Following its earlier consultation reported on in this blog (http://goo.gl/fnir8R), Ofcom has now published its decision to allow licence-exempt access to the unused parts of the radio spectrum in the 470 – 790 MHz frequency band – that currently used by Digital Terrestrial Television ("DTT"), and Programme Making and Special Events ("PMSE").

It is intended that access will be controlled by designated white space databases, which will store information on the location of DTT and PMSE users to avoid harmful interference with these pre-existing users. The technology has already been trialled as part of a pilot, which demonstrated use cases including land-ferry broadband; digital signage; live video feeds (of animals in London Zoo); and flood detection. To date, no harmful interference has been reported.

Devices must either be 'Master Devices', which will communicate with the database designating white space; or a 'Slave Device' which transmits under the control of a Master Device. Therefore the spectrum sharing will be dynamic in order to make the most efficient use of the spectrum available in the area.

A European harmonised standard has been prepared for white space devices (EN 301 598), and devices compliant with that standard will also comply with the UK regime.

The draft Wireless Telegraphy (White Space Devices)(Exemption) Regulations 2015 proposed by Ofcom set out a general exemption permitting the establishment, installation and use of white space devices provided that it transmits on frequencies designated as white space within the 470Mhz to 790MHz frequency band; is not used airborne and does not interfere with any wireless telegraphy; and doesn't allow the user to alter the technical/operational settings in a way which would affect its device parameters or its operation within the operational parameters. Note that there are additional particular requirements specified for Master and Slave Devices.

The device parameters include information such as (i) whether it is a Master or Slave Device; (ii) its unique identifier; (iii) type of device; and (iv) geolocation data. The operational parameters include (i) boundaries within which transmissions are made; (ii) spectral density; (iii) limits on channel usage; and (iv) time and geographic area within which parameters are valid.

Ofcom intends that the new technology will be available before the end of this year.

 

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