Broadband reaches rural Scotland via TV white space
Thu 10 Nov 2016
TV ‘white space’ freed up by the move to digital has allowed for a wider broadband extension into rural areas of Scotland.
Residents of the remote Isle of Arran will be the first to benefit [paywall] from the wireless spectrum capacity. The island has long struggled with poor broadband connection – a huge problem when supporting its main industry, tourism.
The initiative will be rolled out by domain name company Nominet and telco Broadway Partners. The firms claim that the Arran service will be the first commercial offering using the technology in Europe. There will be two package options; the first delivering speeds of up to 25Mbps, and the second offering 35Mbps.
CEO at Nominet, Russell Haworth, argued that the Arran deployment demonstrates that TV white space can reach locations which are otherwise impenetrable. He added that the rollout paves the way for further investment in spectrum management technologies.
Michael Armitage, founding director of Broadway Partners, commented: ‘TV white space has proved its mettle, cutting through hard to reach rural forested areas on Arran which, in fixed wireless terms, is pretty much unheard of.
‘This technology will be a powerful tool in the drive to deliver affordable broadband access for all communities throughout Scotland and abroad.’
While the Scottish program is the first commercial rollout of white space internet, several similar projects have been trialled in the UK. BT has tested the technology on the Scottish Isle of Bute, and is also operating a small experiment in Sutton, Suffolk. Even ZSL London Zoo has trialled the new wireless solution to stream 24/7 footage of meerkats, giant tortoises, and otters to YouTube.
These tests are allowing researchers to test white space-enabled devices, as well as to identify what spectrum is available and ways to reduce interferences.
Although the technology has been earmarked as a means of delivering broadband in remote areas and even at sea, it has received criticism from radio groups which are concerned that white space innovations will interfere with radio and other wireless equipment used in the PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events) sector.