White space pilot attracts early opposition

Despite it being very early days for the UK’s white spaces pilot, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are all arguing that Ofcom’s plans to use the white spaces between TV channels for innovative new wireless services will bring down the sky - before any results from the pilots are actually in.

According to The Guardian newspaper, the TV incumbents claim that they’ve spotted flaws in the Ofcom plan that could disrupt viewing in millions of Freeview (the UK’s digital terrestrial service) households.

In October 2013 Ofcom announced a 20 company pilot involving Google, Microsoft, BT and others, to trial potential uses for the spectrum, including M2M, rural broadband, WiFi backhaul and so on.

The plan is to have lots of different technologies and schemes granted access in specific areas for specific white spaces mediated by a database lookup to make best dynamic use of the valuable spectrum.

But according to the TV providers’ body, Digital UK in a response to Ofcom, “based on the technical parameters detailed in the consultation, certain assumptions in the modelling have the potential to significantly affect digital terrestrial television coverage, which could ultimately disrupt TV viewing to noticeable levels."

Ofcom, however, is standing noticeably firm - if not abrupt and dismissive - on the issue. According to an Ofcom spokesman: "Ofcom has designed its white spaces plans in a way that protects against interference to the airwaves. Any suggestion that it will compromise TV services is unfounded."

So there! Let’s just wait until the pilots are returning data before casting FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt).

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