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Ofcom considering “white space” broadband for rural areas

Ofcom is giving consideration to using some of the unused airwave spectrum to allow broadband distribution to rural areas following the digital TV and radio switchover in the United Kingdom.

“Spectrum is a resource that is in huge demand, fuelled by the recent explosion in smart phones and other wireless technologies” says Ofcom’s CEO Ed Richards.

The telly changeover has meant that 150-megahertz of “white space” is currently available. Sitting idly above us, data can travel the airwaves at five times the speed supplied by Vodafone’s 3G service. Also the low frequencies of the spectrum are suggested to work better in buildings than the high frequency wireless technology which suffers in rural areas.

The technology through Cambridge co. Neul identifies the “white space” to wirelessly transmit and receive signals, without the expense of broadband cabling systems. However, the equipment behind this process will firstly need to pass some very strict testing – meaning the service wouldn’t become available until at least 2015 when digital radio is due to become the standard.

BT, who are testing the “white space” tech along with a consortium of other major providers, suggest that so far results are promising, supplying speeds of around 16mb-per-second and above.

Ofcom have just released an accurate UK fixed line broadband map – Read our article on HERE.

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