Press release: TV white space industry set to accelerate from 2014
Oct 19, 2012 by Martin Sims


TagsBlog, Broadcasting, Cognitive radio, Mobile, TV white spaces

2014 will be a defining year for the emergent TV white space industry, a major study by global spectrum management specialist PolicyTracker has concluded.

  • Technology not the key barrier to progress with TV white spaces
  • Rural broadband, long-range hotspots, and machine communications
    promising potential uses for white space spectrum
  • Consensus forming around using geolocation databases to manage access to
    TV white spaces, a catalyst for regulation
  • Enduring concerns from some existing
    TV band users

Over the next two years, a number of major technology
standardisation efforts will reach completion, allowing standards-based white
space devices (WSDs) to come onto the market in volume. In parallel, TV white
space rule-making will start to snowball, as regulators align behind using
geolocation databases to control the use of white space spectrum. These
developments will spur the emergence of a vibrant, global white space industry.

“Technology is not the main barrier to progressing with TV
white spaces,” according to Catherine Viola, the author of Developing a Global Ecosystem for TV White Spaces. “We’ve
seen from trials in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) that the
technological approaches being developed today offer a viable way forward for
using white spaces – the pockets of spectrum unused by digital TV broadcasting
– without causing harmful interference to TV service and other existing band

The completion of technology standards will drive the mass
adoption of TV white space solutions, adds Viola. There is already a base
standard for rural broadband access using white spaces (IEEE 802.22), and other
standards addressing applications such as long-range WiFi-type hotspots (IEEE 802.11af)
and machine-to-machine communications (Weightless) are being developed.

Within the next two years, much of the ongoing standardisation
work will be completed. “Stable standards will pave the way for technology
suppliers to introduce white space solutions suitable for mass deployment. We
expect standards-based chipsets, radio equipment, and terminals to become
available in volume from around 2013–2014 onwards,” continues Viola.

In parallel with technology advancements, PolicyTracker expects the pace of white
space regulation to accelerate over the next two to three years, and a
harmonised, multi-regional regulatory approach to TV white spaces to emerge.  

“So far, the US and the UK have led the way with white space
rule-making,” says Viola,  “and few other
countries are moving towards suitable regulatory frameworks.” This is set to
change, Viola explains. “There is a growing consensus on using geolocation
databases to control access to white space spectrum by WSDs, and this is
beginning to act as a catalyst for white space rule-making. As regulators start
to align behind geolocation, we expect
white space regulation to cascade around the world. Countries of the
Asia-Pacific region such as Singapore and Korea will be among the early

2014 could mark a watershed in the evolution of the TVWS
industry, Viola believes. “If technology and regulation come together as we
envisage over the next two to three years, the market could really accelerate
from then.”

But enduring concerns from incumbent TV band users –
broadcasters, programme-making and special events (PMSE), and radio astronomy –
will need to be addressed if the TV white space industry is to flourish. “Not
all TV band users are yet convinced that their services will be adequately
protected from harmful interference,” says Viola. “Regulators and industry
stakeholders will need to work together to overcome their outstanding concerns.
Only then will it be possible for the TV white space industry to fully

Developing a Global Ecosystem for TV White Spaces evaluates the status of the emerging TV
white spaces industry, assessing developments in regulation, technologies,
trials, and applications. Based on a comprehensive industry survey, the 90-page
report explores what remains to be done for a global TV white spaces ecosystem
to emerge.


For more information and interviews contact:

Kate Milligan, PolicyTracker,
0207 100 2875 kate [@]



TV white spaces
portions of spectrum in the UHF TV bands (470 to 698 MHz or 790 MHz, depending
on the region) that are not being used for digital terrestrial TV (DTT) broadcasting

White space devices
– radio systems and terminal devices designed for operation in TVWS
and incorporating technologies that enable them to identify vacant channels
(directly or indirectly) and operate without causing harmful interference to
existing TV band users.

Geolocation database
– a database which calculates TVWS availability, based on propagation models
for DTT transmission, information on the channels permanently or temporarily
set aside for other authorised services such as radio astronomy or programme-making
and special events (PMSE), and algorithms defining the protection parameters
for these existing TV band users. The databases return a list of vacant TVWS
channels to WSDs when requested.