Nominet wins first Ofcom qualification to operate UK’s TV white space database

27th October 2015

Nominet, the Oxford-based internet company, best-known for managing the .UK internet infrastructure, announces today that it has been awarded the first qualification to operate a TV white space database.

TV white space (TVWS) is the parts of the wireless spectrum that were freed up in the digital TV switchover in the UK. It can be used to deliver innovative wireless services with potential applications such as the provision of broadband to rural or coastal areas, digital signage, or the monitoring of animals or the environment.

The vacant channels can be used by anyone without a licence, as long as they use equipment that connects to a qualified database. Nominet’s TVWS database tells devices which channels are available for use in their specific geographical location, preventing 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.

To explore how projects like these might work, Ofcom launched a pilot scheme in October 2014. As part of this, Nominet used its TVWS database to power the Oxford Flood Network, a project that uses sensors to monitor water levels in the Thames and Cherwell rivers.

Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet, said: “Dynamic spectrum allocation is a crucial step in ensuring that we address the issue of exponential growth in wireless devices. We’re at the forefront of this work and are already working on further projects to demonstrate the full capacity of TV white space.”

Adam Leach, Director of Research & Development, Nominet, said: “Spectrum is scarce and valuable, and the current licensing model risks demand outstripping supply. Our TV white space database can solve this problem by understanding what spectrum is needed where and when, and managing it more intelligently to meet the demand.”

Ofcom has said that it will make TV white spaces operational in January 2016. Those interested in collaborating on early-stage field trials with a view towards commercial deployments should contact [email protected].