Both Google and Microsoft have expressed an “extreme interest” in white space spectrum in the UK, according to The Telegraph. The two companies may offer nation-wide broadband services in UK using White Spaces spectrum.
Ofcom, the UK equivalent of the US FCC, expects that White Space technology could be launched in the UK in 2013. Ofcom has already put plans in place to allow the roll-out of white space technology next year, and is lobbying government to give it the power to decide which companies are allowed to use it.
Google and Microsoft hope to win control of the valuable airwaves. They could also use the white spaces to provide widespread broadband access, potentially giving them an important calling card with which to win over customers.
The Wireless Innovation Alliance, which hopes to preserve “unlicensed” white spaces in the unused television frequencies, is concerned about spectrum legislation that will stop new entrants into the wireless market through “incentive auctions” of broadcast spectrum that would allow only “licensed” users paying big bucks for spectrum.
Yochai Benkler, Professor of law at Harvard University, says “incentive auctions” threaten the future of wireless innovation by eliminating unlicensed spectrum. Tech companies generally favor license-free use of white space spectrum. Like Wi-Fi, cheap or inexpensive spectrum spurs innovation and device use, they argue.
The 802.22 base standard for rural broadband was ratified in 2011, and will be supported in future by technology suppliers such as US rural broadband proponent Carlson Wireless. The 802.11af WLAN standard, which allows for channel ganging and other features, has been demoed and could be fully ratified in early 2014 in time for an FCC auction of TV frequencies.
PolicyTracker’s report Developing a Global Ecosystem for TV White Spaces evaluates the status of the nascent TV White Spaces industry and explores what remains to be done before a global ecosystem can emerge.
Unlicensed White Spaces could allow first responders (and communities) to provide inexpensive, ad-hock networks as needed. By contrast, licensed white space networks will likely be under the control of telecom monopolies, primarily driven by profit margins. Frequency-hogging paired frequency utilization allows large telcos to minimize WS competition.
Meanwhile, the legal challenges to the UK’s 800MHz and 2.6GHz auction process have been resolved, and the country’s auction of the new 4G spectrum is expected to begin early next year. The UK government is expected to receive a total of £4 billion from the Ofcom-run 4G auction, the largest auction of spectrum for mobile services ever in the UK. Spectrum in the 2.6GHz band has more bandwidth, but the 800MHz spectrum is more valuable due to its longer-range.
Related Dailywireless articles include; FCC’s TV Auction Workshop, White Spaces to the Rescue?, White Space Radio using 802.11af Demoed, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, UK Broadband: TD-LTE at 3.5GHz, UK White Space Trial: Some Unimpressed, Mobile: The New Television, Spectrum Bridge Partners with Carlson Wireless, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace,02: Olympic WiFi Cloud, UK Gets Free Public WiFi, Europe’s Digital Divide Auction, IEEE to Enhance White Space Standard, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, White Space Legislation Goes Dark, White Space War, Bills to Kill Unlicensed White Space?, White Space Trial Completed, White Space Trialed, Huawei to Trial White Space TD-LTE, NTIA “Finds” 1.5 GHz of Federal Spectrum, UK Delays 4G Auction Ofcom: White Spaces by 2013, UK Gets Free Public WiFi, Europe’s Digital Divide Auction,