Nominet, the company operating at the heart of the internet infrastructure and best-known for managing the .UK namespace, announces today that it has been approved as a TV White Space (TVWS) Database Administrator by the Federal Communications Commission in the USA. This follows Nominet being awarded the first Ofcom qualification to operate the UK’s TVWS database in October 2015 and the development of its Wavedb database.
TV white space is the name given to the parts of the wireless spectrum – unused broadcast frequencies – that were freed up in the digital TV switchover. It can be used to deliver innovative wireless services with applications such as the provision of broadband connectivity to rural communities as the signal can travel through permanent obstacles such as trees and light structures, as well as uneven terrain.
The vacant TV channels can be used by anyone without a licence, as long as they use certified equipment that connects to a regulator-approved database to check channel availability in their area. The database is dynamic as the frequencies in use will vary depending on location and time, and also provides information about the maximum power limits devices can transmit at to prevent unwanted interference with TV broadcasts and other licensed users of the TV spectrum, such as radio microphones. Each TVWS device can have a range of up to 30km.
Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet, said: “For those living in rural areas where traditional broadband can’t reach, TVWS can be life-changing. Since being the first to complete Ofcom’s qualification process in the UK, working with partners, our TVWS database has been used to reach rural communities struggling to get online with other solutions, and we are now seeing in the UK the first commercial rollouts with TVWS.
“Receiving FCC approval in the USA is an important step for us as we believe TVWS has the potential not only to increase access to the internet in the UK and internationally, but also to enable emerging Internet of Things technologies.”
Adam Leach, Director of Emerging Technology, Nominet, said: “Spectrum is scarce and valuable. Our extensive experience in running authoritative national internet infrastructure services, and in providing spectrum management tools to regulators, network operators, and radio manufacturers is helping to solve the problem of understanding what spectrum is needed where and when, and managing it more intelligently to meet the demand.
“For the millions of Americans lacking adequate internet connection in rural areas, with TVWS they are able to take advantage of the economic and educational opportunities enjoyed by their urban neighbours. With TVWS providing affordable, reliable broadband access, it’s poised to be the technology of choice for rural America and we are thrilled to be part of the process providing this cost effective and easy-to-implement solution.”
Advantages are not only for consumers. For network operators advantages include: line-of-sight not required; up to 30km of outdoor connectivity; there is no need for complex infrastructure; there is no need to change radios if the rules to access slightly change; and it enables new business models.
For more information about Nominet’s role in TVWS and the tailored support it offers potential or existing operators, please visit: https://www.nominet.uk/emerging-technology/dynamic-spectrum-management/