back to article UK to make White Space devices legal

The feedback from Ofcom's consultation on White Space has convinced the regulator to push ahead of Europe and get deployments by 2013 – if the technology can be shown to work. Ofcom received 25 non-confidential responses to its consultation, which was published in November last year. Based on those comments the regulator is to …


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  1. DrXym Silver badge

    A question

    How does a hub-like device check with an online database of available frequencies if the device isn't allowed to go online until it has checked with the database?

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge


      Presumably, the hub would have an active Internet connection anyway, as it would need to share it with the other devices wirelessly. In much the same way a router is used to share an Internet connection.

      As such, it would just use it's own Internet connection.

  2. jonathan rowe

    competitive databases?

    No chance of inconsistencies between different databases then?

    And what value is there to add? - either you can transmit at a given location/frequency/power level or you cannot - end of.

  3. Mage Silver badge



  4. goats in pajamas

    This being the UK.

    Expect this to screw the current broadcast system in to the ground.

    Expect large profits going overseas, or at least, going untaxed in the UK.

    And expect the Minister to curiously end up on the board of one of those companies that benefited most.

  5. s. pam

    This should be a fucking hoot to watch

    It'll be like Tommy Cooper loose in a henhouse of fun to see how this works, or more importantly doesn't in reality.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Hang on, though...

    ...what color did the space devices have to be before?

  7. Arthur Coppock

    Demistifying new technology

    are 1.5m (about 5ft)......

    I glad you understand this modern technology enough to translate these tricky details for us....

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Demistifying new technology

      I had to go to the Reg Standards Converter to find out how many Linguine that was. Apparently it is about 10.7.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Dear Ofcom

    Why do you want the UK to go its own way again?

    Your approach has got us DAB (useless) vs DAB+ (still has some potential, allegedly).

    Your approach has got us DVB-S (everywhere except the UK) vs Murdoch (the UK).

    Your approach gave the UK a licenced national wireless broadband access network who refuses to do anything with their licences (PCCW/Netvigator/Now).

    And so on.

    Before you were invented, there were international standards for techy things like DSL. On the whole they (and the associated equipment) work reasonably compatibly, wouldn't you say?

    What, exactly, is your aim in promoting these UK-specific implementations, and why?

    1. Mike Dimmick

      Not quite right

      DAB came before DAB+, we were the first to deploy, the issue is that the broadcasters don't want to break everyone's existing DAB radios. They should, it will improve quality and reliability (assuming they don't just use the improved compression to pack more in). You don't actually have to convert a whole DAB ensemble at once, you can convert a service at a time as it's backwards-compatible.

      Sky largely resell other people's transmissions, which all use compliant DVB-S and DVB-S2 transmissions. The subscription channels are encrypted with Sky's propietary VideoGuard encryption scheme, which is a barrier to entry, but all the channels on Freesat - which make up some 73-odd percent of viewing via all platforms - are free-to-air. No encryption, you can use any DVB-S compliant box to receive them. You now need a DVB-S2 box for BBC One HD and BBC HD - notice that here they *weren't* bothered about breaking compatibility. Freesat does use the truly-open MHEG5 UK Profile for interactivity (e.g. BBC Red Button text) rather than Sky's 'OpenTV', which isn't - which means that FTA channels have to carry both systems.

      'White Space' broadband will no doubt use something like LTE or WiMAX for the actual implementation, the difference will be that it can be tuned to operate between 470 and 800 MHz rather than having to operate at multiple GHz. The lower the frequency, the less power is required to provide the same coverage, and the better it refracts over terrain and penetrates into buildings. The US is also offering 'white space' licensing using exactly the same frequencies.

  9. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Just a brief reminder...

    ...that model aircraft are also now increasingly using the 2.4Ghz band.

    And model aircraft nowadays are no longer tissue and balsa wood. They are composite constructions with powerful motors, up to and including jet turbines. Such aircaft have no problem travelling at 200 mph - indeed, the model glider speed record is higher than this...

    Just tought it was worth mentioning...

    (fire for the inevitable result of interference...)

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @not quite right

    I;m happy with much of what you say, but not so sure about the DVB-S stuff. Encryption is one issue, then there's the EPG.

    Afaik there is a non-proprietary DVB-S EPG standard used across much of Europe.

    Afaik both Sky and Freesat have their own proprietary EPGs, neither of which are compliant with the DVB-S standard.

    How useful is a DVB box without an EPG?

    For now, I stand by what I said, unless you have something more definitive to say.

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