A number of British technology and media firms have come together to form a consortium to begin trials of new ‘white space’ wireless technology.
The consortium chose Cambridge on the basis that previous new wireless communication technologies had been tested there and geographically it contains a ‘dense mixture of buildings’ which its hoped will provide the opportunity to demonstrate the penetrating power of TV white space wireless versus high frequency wireless such as Wi-Fi.
The Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium counts the BBC, BSkyB and BT as members as well as electronics firms Nokia and Samsung and software giant Microsoft. The consortium is set to trial technology which is aimed at delivering cost-effective broadband to rural communities.
The consortium also aims to prove that use of the so-called TV white spaces will not interfere with neighbouring television transmissions. This is particularly problematic because the phase out of analogue signals is not uniform across the UK so mechanisms to mark usable channels, such as smart boxes that need to ‘phone home’ with a geographic location may be required.
However industry interest in the emerging wireless spectrum is bordering on feverish as demands upon existing wireless broadband threatens to outstrip supply.