Into The White Space

OFCOM, the quango that is in charge of broadband and television in the UK, and which was slated for extermination by the incoming Tory government, has played another good card.

News that white space spectrum is to be freed up for WiMax type services by 2013 is to be hugely welcomed, and the approach - whereby licensing won't be required, but regulation and compliance will be managed in the cloud - is to be commended.

There are a number of potentially beneficial uses:

1) Rural broadband - the twenty odd percent of the UK that suffers from little or no bandwidth now have the ability to build spurs based on these wavelengths
2) Smart home - meter reading over the internet, remote management of devices from fridges to printers and management of eco-energy generation from wind and solar can all be better managed if these devices are connected: smart grids also become possible by extending core internet access to more remote areas
3) Network boosting - with existing 3G networks often over-run by data demand, the potential for building low cost urban networks to support existing services is a real potential
4) Specialist networks - the white space spectrum is being taken from wavelengths that have previously been allocated to broadcasting - analogue TV and FM radio, for example - but the opportunity to launch specialist digital broadcast services over these wavelengths becomes possible
5) Tracking - intelligent tracking of deliveries and service engineers becomes easier if there is more comprehensive online coverage

It's good to see the UK take the lead for once in providing a better environment for the future development of the internet. I'm also delighted that the government is making good use of a quango that has proven its worth.