With Ofcom having initially announced its intention for a pilot of ‘white space’ technology in April 2013, the UK telecom regulator has now unveiled the identities of those companies that will take part in the project. Over the course of the next six months Ofcom has confirmed that around 20 public and private organisations will be participating in the pilot by running trials to test a variety of innovative applications – ranging from sensors that monitor the behaviour of cities, to dynamic information for road users and rural broadband in hard to reach places.
Among the more notable companies taking part in the pilot, British fixed line incumbent BT will work with technology specialist Neul2 and the Department for Transport to test the potential enhancement of traffic information, using white spaces to transmit data on traffic congestion and varying traffic conditions to as part of a wider project along the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge. Microsoft, meanwhile, is planning to test how white spaces can provide people with access to free Wi-Fi in Glasgow, which is said to have the lowest level of broadband take-up of all UK cities. Also highlighted by Ofcom, internet service provider (ISP) Click4internet will work with technology partners KTS and SineCom to use white spaces to test rural broadband in locations obscured by thick foliage or challenging topography; it will carry out its tests in Hampshire, West Sussex, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.
Commenting on the plans, Ofcom chief executive Steve Richards was cited as saying: ‘Access to spectrum is fundamental to the future success of the UK’s digital economy, providing the infrastructure that underpins all wireless communications … The upcoming white space pilot is a very exciting development, which has attracted an impressive line-up of participants, ranging from global tech giants to innovative UK start-ups. This is an excellent opportunity for the UK to help lead in the world of spectrum and one that could deliver huge benefits to society.’