According to Microsoft, “The Cambridge TV White Spaces trial is notable not only as an exploration of how cognitive radio technologies can enable more efficient use of spectrum, but also for the caliber and breadth of the consortium of technology and broadcast organizations involved” . Along with Microsoft, the following organizations such as BBC, BSkyB, BT, Cambridge Consultants, Microsoft, Neul, Nokia, Samsung, Spectrum Bridge Inc. and TTP. Adaptrum and KTS are also providing considerable hardware support. In US, FTC gave permission to use unused waves in the spectrum(White Spaces) for other purposes which Microsoft cited as an important first step toward allowing these new technologies to proliferate
Full Press Release after the break.
CAMBRIDGE, England — 27 June 2011 — Today, representatives from some of the UK’s largest technology and media companies announced the formation of the Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium. The group is undertaking technology trials to explore how the unused TV spectrum could provide an inexpensive solution to satisfy the escalating wireless connectivity requirements of UK consumers and businesses in towns, cities and rural areas.
The consortium issued this statement: “With the number of connected devices and data applications growing rapidly, and with mobile networks feeling the strain, we must find ways of satisfying the traffic demands of today and tomorrow. This trial will attempt to demonstrate that unused TV spectrum is well-placed to increase the UK’s available mobile bandwidth, which is critical to effectively responding to the exponential growth in data-intensive services, while also enabling future innovation.”
TV White Spaces
The market for mobile bandwidth that serves phones, laptops, tablets and other smart devices is expected to increase 92 per cent between 2011 and 2015. With the growth in demand for applications such as TV streaming, internet access, voice calling, music services and video downloads, the need for such mobile bandwidth is rapidly outpacing the capacity of today’s wireless networks.
The consortium is launching a trial to assess the potential of TV white spaces to deliver cost-efficient broadband access to rural communities, offload wireless data demand in urban centres and open the way for innovative business models. It will explore how mobile devices can tap into unused television channels — TV white spaces — to supplement wireless broadband and cellular networks. The trial is designed to validate that TV white spaces can be used without any impact on traditional broadcast television in the UK, a concept that has already been successfully explored in the US and other European countries.
TV white spaces networks can provide wireless connectivity and work in much the same way as Wi-Fi, but because TV spectrum signals travel farther and are better at penetrating walls than Wi-Fi, they may require fewer access points. Given this, the use of TV white spaces also has the potential to help bring mobile broadband to rural areas that are not currently served well by existing connections.
The range and mobile bandwidth offered by TV white spaces can also more easily support a variety of connected devices that offer services and communicate with one another, such as connected automobiles and retail signs, a vision that is being widely discussed as a potential “Internet of Things”, where intelligent devices all around offer a wide range of new capabilities.
A Consortium Effort
The consortium includes several of the UK’s largest technology and media companies and will test technologies under a variety of scenarios to assess how TV white spaces could be used to facilitate communications and information services. This will include streaming high-quality video and audio content from the BBC and BSkyB over the TV white spaces spectrum to a range of mobile devices, including some from Nokia and Samsung. The TV white spaces hotspots will include local pubs, other leisure venues, and commercial and residential premises. And although the trial is not open to the public, visitors from the industry will be invited to experience a number of planned demonstrations.
The consortium chose Cambridge for the trial because it has a long history in developing novel wireless communication technologies and offers an environment for testing diverse uses of the TV white spaces network. The city is distinguished by a dense mixture of buildings, including the historic stone buildings of its colleges, which offer a unique opportunity to demonstrate the penetration of TV white spaces signals when compared with other higher frequency networks such as Wi-Fi. And although Cambridge itself has good broadband access, some neighbouring villages suffer poor broadband service, allowing the advantageous range of TV white spaces communications to be demonstrated.