TV white space brings connectivity to local communities around Loch Ness

21st November 2017

Broadway Partners and Nominet are today announcing the next phase of the rollout of TV white space (TVWS) broadband technology, with installations beginning around Loch Ness, near Inverness in Scotland – a tourist hotspot and home to a number of villages and communities with over two thousand households and businesses.

Following the successful launch of TVWS-powered broadband service on the Isle of Arran in Scotland and the ongoing pilot in Llanarth in Wales, Broadway Partners was approached by the local community around Loch Ness to deliver broadband connectivity, powered by Nominet’s crucial spectrum database management services.

Operating at lower frequencies than conventional wireless broadband, TVWS radio is also relatively unaffected by physical obstacles such as buildings and trees, making the technology ideal for more challenging, particularly rural environments. To ensure that TVWS signals do not interfere with TV broadcasts, Nominet’s geo-location database manages spectrum dynamically, telling devices what frequencies they can use and at what power.

Loch Ness is the largest body of fresh water in Britain and tourism is key to the economy here. Whilst some in the largest village of Drumnadrochit have access to high-speed fibre-to-the-cabinet service, the majority of residents and businesses around the loch have poor connectivity, while some receive virtually no usable broadband at all, a problem also for the million or so tourists and outdoor enthusiasts who holiday at the loch every year.

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, said: “It’s amazing that one of the most famous tourist destinations in Britain lags so far behind in the broadband race. The beauty of TV white space lies in its ability to quickly bridge connectivity holes like this and add value directly into the communities and businesses of the area, and boost commerce in the region. We’re delighted to be a part of the project and really look forward to putting our technology to the test.”

Michael Armitage, Founder Director of Broadway Partners said: “This project is particularly exciting because, while virtually everybody has heard of Loch Ness, few outside the area realise just how poorly served it is for broadband. TV white space technology allows us to reach communities and businesses that are beyond the reach of conventional wireless, and we are thrilled to be able to help locals and visitors alike get connected.”

Simon McCalla, CTO of Nominet, said: “Few places represent more of a challenge for deploying fixed broadband infrastructure than the Scottish Highlands, and we’re delighted to be able to put TV white space to the test in this way. It absolutely proves the value of spectrum sharing, which is key to enabling us to deliver this kind of service in a responsive and effective way.”

Find more information on Connected Loch Ness broadband here and watch our explanatory video of how TV white space works here.

Notes to editors

About TV white space

TVWS is the name given to the wireless spectrum made available following the digital TV switchover in the UK.  Radio equipment using these frequencies can deliver two-way communications at relatively high-data rates over long distances, enabling connectivity in large open areas where it would be uneconomic or impractical to put in new physical connections.