White space trials look promising for ‘not-spot’ areas

Isle of ButeOpenreach is trialling new wireless broadband access technology on the Isle of Bute, off the west coast of Scotland.

The initiative sets out to test if ‘white spaces’ in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) TV spectrum can be used to take high speed broadband to hard to reach areas.

White spaces are the unused parts of the digital TV spectrum, which are increasingly becoming available due to the switchover to digital TV. The results of the trials have been very promising, although it will be July before it becomes clear if a dozen or so of the island’s residents can be connected this way.

According to Liv Garfield, chief executive for Openreach, the final ten per cent of the UK is going to be the hardest to get online, which is why it is necessary for Openreach to research new technologies.

She says: “One of these technologies is white space and I’m glad to say the initial results are very encouraging. It’s early days but our hope is that white space may provide an effective solution for ‘not spots’ and ‘slow spots’”.

Openreach is working with the University of Strathclyde, BBC Research and Development, Steepest Ascent, Berg Design and Netpropogate to carry out the white space trials.