BT is set to extend its trials of white space technology, which is designed to provide wireless broadband services using gaps in the licensed spectrum bands, according to a Financial Times report.
The UK incumbent telco is set to trial the technology in Cornwall, the same area where it has recently participated in an LTE pilot with mobile operator Everything Everywhere. The pilot is expected to be the same size as the 4G work, taking white space coverage to a “commercial level for the first time.”
Numerous technical pilots of white space technology have already been conducted globally, including work in the UK involving Microsoft and the BBC. BT has also conducted a pilot on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.
The report comes as Ed Richards, chief executive of UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom, highlighted the need for “dynamic spectrum access,” initially focused on TV white space devices but then progressing to establish this much more widely.
“I will argue that we need to be decisive and even bold, which means thinking creatively about our current spectrum management approaches,” Richards said.
According to research commissioned by Ofcom, even with the planned availability of LTE (800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum), and the release of government spectrum allocations, “even the most conservative forecast for demand will outstrip supply.”
Ofcom is proposing that it has control over the transmit power of white space devices, so that if harmful interference occurs, this can be reduced. This will address the potential issue of interference with existing users.
In addition to providing rural broadband coverage, as is proposed in the BT trial, white space could also be used for machine-to-machine applications, and for in-home networks.
The technology has also been backed by US regulator the FCC.