Nominet and Broadway Partners have today announced that they will be working together to use TV white space (TVWS) to power better broadband coverage for remote parts of Scotland and Wales. The commercial broadband rollout will be the first of its kind in Europe.
The broadband rollout is starting on the Isle of Arran, it will initially cover the Machrie area on the west coast, an area which really struggles with poor broadband and phone connections, and then extend across the island over the coming months.
Tourism is the main industry on Arran making better connectivity a key priority as during peak season, the population grows from 5,000 to 25,000. In addition, as broadband speeds increase elsewhere, websites are becoming more content-rich and internet services are more demanding of bandwidth, making them harder to use and widening the digital divide for remote communities.
TV white space is the name given to the parts of wireless spectrum that were freed up as part of the digital TV switchover in the UK. It can create two-way communications at relatively high-data rates over long distances, enabling connectivity in large open areas where it would be inconvenient to put in new connections.
Nominet was the first company in the UK to qualify as a TVWS database operator, honing its technology during trials in Oxford. The available set of TVWS frequencies varies, so the database that Nominet has developed performs complex calculations that tell devices which frequencies they can use in that area, at what power and for how long.
Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet said: “The Arran rollout shows that TV white space can reach places that other technologies cannot, and paves the way for further deployment of this dynamic spectrum management technology. It’s fantastic to see our proven expertise in new technologies like TV white space is now providing the key building block to help remote areas to finally get online.”
Michael Armitage, founding Director of Broadway Partners said: “TV white space has proved its mettle, cutting through hard to reach rural forested areas on Arran which, in fixed wireless terms, is pretty much unheard of. This technology will be a powerful tool in the drive to deliver affordable broadband access for all communities throughout Scotland and abroad.”