Dust off those White Space devices: New rules finalised by Ofcom

New kit can't mess with digital TV though, warns regulator

New UK regulations are set to come into force at the end of this year to allow telecoms providers to use special devices to provide wireless data services via "white space" - licensed portions of radio spectrum which remain unused locally.

The Wireless Telegraphy (White Space Devices) (Exemption) Regulations will come into force on 31 December 2015.

In a document setting out its decision to create the new regulations (20-page / 196KB–PDF), telecoms regulator Ofcom said that only white space devices that meet "certain technical conditions" and which can operate "in accordance with technical parameters", set to limit the risk of interference with existing digital terrestrial television (DTT) and programme making and special event (PMSE) services, will be able to benefit from the new licensing exemption the new regulations create.

Under the regulations, white space devices can be operated on either a fixed or mobile basis. Operational parameters will be set with reference to a database. White space device operators will be required to engage with one of the companies tasked with maintaining the database so as to limit the risk that their use of white space devices could result in harmful interference with DTT and PMSE services.

The new regulations follow on from a trialling of the use of white space wireless technology last year.

In a statement Ofcom said: "Based on the trials and stakeholder feedback, there is considerable interest from industry in developing this technology. Ofcom also plans to explore whether the white space in other spectrum bands could be used for similar innovation in future."

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