TV White Space deployment

TV White Space is an example of spectrum sharing, currently used to connect rural communities to the internet around the world. It is the name given to unused broadcasting frequencies in the wireless spectrum, gaps left between channels by television networks. With the right management to ensure that television services are protected, this technology allows more efficient use of national radio spectrum.

Using dynamic spectrum management to make the most effective use of the spectrum, TV White Space radios offer broadband speeds over several kilometres. The signal can travel through permanent obstacles such as trees and challenging terrain.

Given the appealing characteristics it is well suited for a range of uses, including providing broadband connectivity to rural communities, delivering wireless connectivity across campuses and connecting IoT devices.

How it works

Diagram showing how tv white space works
  • Devices contact an approved TV White Space database for a list of available channels
  • The database calculates available channels using data on incumbent services and geopolitical data according to a region’s specific requirements
  • Devices receive information about the power levels they are permitted to use for each available channel
  • The database gives spectrum managers real-time oversight and control over spectrum usage

The benefits of a TV white space deployment are:

Line-of-sight not required

As frequencies at this part of the radio spectrum are low, waves are long. This means they can travel far and navigate around most obstacles: trees and buildings. This makes TV White Space an ideal solution for rural and semi-rural territories.

Up to 30km outdoors

The distances that a TV White Space network can cover are significant; point-to-point links can connect at up to 30km, depending on the terrain.

Broadband-comparable

In the UK, broadband speeds average at 18.57Mbps. TV White Space delivers comparable speeds.

Competitive infrastructure costs

With the number of providers of TV White Space equipment increasing, it is now an affordable solution, thanks to economies of scale. As usage continues to grow, a more competitive environment should lower costs even further.

Simple infrastructure

Unlike a fibre network deployment, a TV White Space deployment is free of expensive building work, road excavations and other physical disruptions.

Nominet is working in partnership with Microsoft Airband Initiative connecting rural America using TV White Space as one of the key technologies.

Read more about Microsoft and other live deployments here. 

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