CAMBRIDGE, England, Jun. 27, 2011 (PR Newswire Europe) —
BBC, BSkyB, BT, Cambridge Consultants, Microsoft, Neul, Nokia,
Samsung, Spectrum Bridge and TTP to trial how unused TV spectrum- TV white
spaces-could help satisfy the escalating demand for wireless internet
Today, representatives from some of the UK’s largest technology and media companies announced the formation of the Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium. The group is undertaking technology trials to explore how the unused TV spectrum could provide an inexpensive solution to satisfy the escalating wireless connectivity requirements of UK consumers and businesses in towns, cities and rural areas.
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The consortium issued this statement: “With the number of connected devices and data applications growing rapidly, and with mobile networks feeling the strain, we must find ways of satisfying the traffic demands of today and tomorrow. This trial will attempt to demonstrate that unused TV spectrum is well-placed to increase the UK’s available mobile bandwidth, which is critical to effectively responding to the exponential growth in data-intensive services, while also enabling future innovation.”
TV White Spaces
The market for mobile bandwidth that serves phones, laptops, tablets and other smart devices is expected to increase 92 percent between 2011 and 2015. With the growth in demand for applications such as TV streaming, internet access, voice calling, music services and video downloads, the need for such mobile bandwidth is rapidly outpacing the capacity of today’s wireless networks.
The consortium is launching a trial to assess the potential of TV white spaces to deliver cost-efficient broadband access to rural communities, offload wireless data demand in urban centres and open the way for innovative business models. It will explore how mobile devices can tap into unused television channels -TV white spaces – to supplement wireless broadband and cellular networks. The trial is designed to validate that TV white spaces can be used without any impact on traditional broadcast television in the UK, a concept that has already been successfully explored in the US and other European countries.
TV white spaces networks can provide wireless connectivity and work in much the same way as Wi-Fi, but because TV spectrum signals travel farther and are better at penetrating walls than Wi-Fi, they may require fewer access points. Given this, the use of TV white spaces also has the potential to help bring mobile broadband to rural areas that are not currently served well by existing connections.
The range and mobile bandwidth offered by TV white spaces can also more easily support a variety of connected devices that offer services and communicate with one another, such as connected automobiles and retail signs, a vision that is being widely discussed as a potential “Internet of Things”, where intelligent devices all around offer a wide range of new capabilities.
A Consortium Effort
The consortium includes several of the UK’s largest technology and media companies and will test technologies under a variety of scenarios to assess how TV white spaces could be used to facilitate communications and information services. This will include streaming high-quality video and audio content from the BBC and BSkyB over the TV white spaces spectrum to a range of mobile devices, including some from Nokia and Samsung. The TV white spaces hotspots will include local pubs, other leisure venues, and commercial and residential premises. And although the trial is not open to the public, visitors from the industry will be invited to experience a number of planned demonstrations.
The consortium chose Cambridge for the trial because it has a long history in developing novel wireless communication technologies and offers an environment for testing diverse uses of the TV white spaces network. The city is distinguished by a dense mixture of buildings, including the historic stone buildings of its colleges, which offer a unique opportunity to demonstrate the penetration of TV white spaces signals when compared with other higher frequency networks such as Wi-Fi. And although Cambridge itself has good broadband access, some neighbouring villages suffer poor broadband service, allowing the advantageous range of TV white spaces communications to be demonstrated.
About the Consortium Partners
– BBC [http://www.bbc.co.uk ] exists to enrich people’s lives with
great programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain. It
provides a wide range of distinctive programmes and services for
everyone, free of commercial interests and political bias, which
include television, radio, national, local, children’s, educational,
language and other services for key interest groups. The BBC is
financed by a TV license paid by households. It does not have to serve
the interests of advertisers or produce a return for shareholders.
– BSkyB [http://www.sky.com ]‘s Sky entertains and excites more than 10.1
million homes through the most comprehensive multichannel,
multi-platform television service in the UK and Ireland. Sky also works
with dozens of other broadcasters on the satellite platform, online and
on mobile. The company is also the UK’s fastest-growing broadband and
home phone provider and recently acquired The Cloud, one of the UK’s
largest public Wi-Fi providers.
– BT [http://www.bt.com ] is one of the world’s leading providers of
communications solutions and services, operating in more than 170
countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked
IT services globally; local, national and international
telecommunications services to customers for use at home, at work and
on the move; broadband and internet products and services; and
converged fixed/mobile products and services.
– Cambridge Consultants [http://www.cambridgeconsultants.com ] has one of
the largest independent wireless teams in the world, providing
expertise on the vast array of wireless technologies that exist today
and their application to a wide range of market areas.
– Microsoft Corp [http://www.microsoft.com ] is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses
realise their full potential.
– Neul [http://www.neul.com ] develops innovative and disruptive wireless
network technology to enable the use of TV white spaces spectrum. Its
products are the first and so far the only radios that fully meet the
FCC white spaces radio specification. They provide reliable, secure,
long-range wireless connectivity to satisfy the burgeoning market for
data communications. By deploying or using a Neul network, customers
benefit from unrivalled geographic coverage, increased network capacity
and dramatically reduced costs.
– Nokia [http://www.nokia.com ] is the world’s leading mobile phone
supplier and a leading supplier of mobile telecom networks including
related customer services.
– Samsung [http://www.samsung.com ] is the leader in the global market
for high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media.
– Spectrum Bridge Inc [http://www.spectrumbridge.com ] is a provider of
software and services to wireless service companies and equipment
– TTP [http://www.ttp.com ] is Europe’s leading independent technology
development company. The internationally acclaimed TTP team has been at
the forefront of wireless communications for over 20 years, and are
providing concept, design and production solutions to clients looking
to exploit white spaces spectrum hardware and services across
industries as diverse as telecommunications, emergency services, energy
management and healthcare.
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