BT extends white spaces trial to Cornwall

Encouraged by the results of white space spectrum trials on the Isle of Bute and in Cambridge, BT is now extending the trial to Cornwall in the west of England. According to ZDNet UK, the trial will replace the current 4G trial in Cornwall jointly run by UK mobile operator Everything Everywhere and BT.

"The Bute trial has generated some encouraging results and so it is time to extend it to a larger audience and to test the technology further," BT told ZDNet.

The white space trial will use frequencies in the Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV) bands of between 470MHz to 790MHz and will start once the LTE trial has ended. The LTE trial used spectrum in the 800MHz band.

BT said it is conducting further trials to see how a commercial deployment would work, and to see how well it performs in comparison to the 800MHz trial. BT made the announcement at an event in Brussels, where Ofcom CEO Ed Richards also called for a co-ordinated European policy on using white space technology, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The FT further noted that Richards outlined concerns about the mounting pressure on the finite licensed spectrum from the rapid proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices that use considerable amounts of bandwidth-hungry data.

White space spectrum refers to the gaps in between spectrum used for services such as television. Its usage requires the deployment of very intelligent technology that can detect vacant spectrum on a dynamic basis and avoid interference with adjacent bands. It has long been a controversial topic due to the role it plays in the TV broadcast market, but white space spectrum is also seen as a potentially useful spectrum for use by mobile broadband services and has been the subject of tests and regulatory scrutiny for years.

According to the FT, Ofcom estimates the amount of white space bandwidth to be comparable to that available for 3G services, with up to £320 million of economic benefit derived from using this untapped spectrum in the UK alone.

For more:
- see this ZDNet article
- see this FT article (reg. req.)
- see this thinkbroadband article

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