The amount of white space available in the
Unlike some other parts of the radio spectrum, white spaces will be available to use on a licence-exempt basis, potentially allowing for fast take-up and innovation by manufacturers8.
Surge in demand for spectrum
The forthcoming trials will investigate the potential for white spaces to help meet the growing demands being placed on the
One of the key drivers for this increase will be machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, which will be used to link devices together over the internet.
Commonly referred to as the 'internet of things', connecting devices in this way has the potential to deliver significant benefits to society, with a range of applications spanning transport, healthcare, energy and agriculture.10 Four M2M case studies are available online.
The emergence of M2M communications, along with mobile broadband growth and more sophisticated techniques for sharing spectrum such as white space technology, are likely to have a significant impact on spectrum use.
Competing demands from different sectors - such as broadcasting, programme makers and special events organisers - are also likely to present significant challenges for spectrum management over the next 10 years.
For example, trends towards higher definition TV are likely to influence broadcasting capacity needs on both digital terrestrial TV and satellite platforms. Also, wireless microphone and camera users will be affected by the increasing complexity of live events production and the move to higher definition standards.
Ofcom's spectrum management strategy
To prepare for these challenges, Ofcom has today published a blueprint for how it plans to manage spectrum over the next decade.
It has assessed each individual sector that uses spectrum - such as broadcasting and mobile broadband - and considered how their needs are likely to develop in the future. This has identified a number of areas where Ofcom plans to focus its efforts over the next ten years. Examples include:
Mobile and wireless data demands;
managing a potential re-arranging of the bands used for digital terrestrial TV (DTT) to release more spectrum for mobile broadband after 2018, while protecting the future of TV services received through the aerial;
and considering the future of Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) use of spectrum.11
'Spectrum: the next decade'
The publication of Ofcom's spectrum management strategy coincides with a two-day Ofcom event, 'Spectrum: the next decade', designed to showcase current and future wireless opportunities in the
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