Domain registry Nominet is extending its white space spectrum trial, bringing broadband internet access to rural Wales. White space, also known as TV white space (TVWS), is the ‘spare’ spectrum left over when the UK migrated to digital TV. It has the potential (important word) to provide rural communities with long-range, low-power and low speed (up to 30Mbps) access to the internet. Working with Broadway Partners, Nominet launched its first trial on the Isle of Arran in Scotland in 2016. Following its success there, the company has extended the tests to Llanarth Parish in Monmouthshire.
The UK’s average broadband speed is 22.8Mbps; around 170 households in Llanarth, however, are limited to 2.5Mbps. Nine of these households will take part in the trial over a period of six months. Monmouthshire County Council is in the process of applying for funding from the Welsh government’s Rural Development Programme, which could lead to county-wide deployment. White space in the UK is in the 470-694MHz region and shared with TV, meaning that the spectrum used must be changed dynamically to avoid interference. Nominet uses a white space database, which tells the sending device what spectrum is available and the power levels it can broadcast at.
Nominet has been promoting the concept of spectrum sharing for several years, arguing that it is necessary to maximise available resources.
Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, said, “The internet’s integral role in day-to-day life will only increase as the Internet of Things become a reality and we equip our homes with smart devices…
It is an exciting future that has the potential to transform lives, but it could become the preserve of the city dwellers, with smart devices inaccessible to those who live in rural areas where internet speeds can be either non-existent or too slow to meet the needs of those using it.”