Dynamic Spectrum Alliance updates model rules for TV White Space technology
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:
The phasing out of analogue TV that completed in 2012 in the UK has freed up spectrum for use by other applications

​The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) has today (9 January) published new model rules for TV White Space (TVWS) technology, to provide governments, policy makers and regulators with tools to enable the quick and efficient deployment of TVWS networks to help bridge the digital divide and support the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Alliance claims that the updated model rules (which have replaced the original version published in 2014) offer higher availability for dynamic spectrum devices and stronger protection for incumbent users. They are based upon the regulatory environments already put in place by Ofcom in the UK and the Federal Communications Commission in the US, incorporating learnings from the operation of TVWS networks, including DSA member Nominet’s experiences running its TVWS services.

“We are very proud to be releasing the latest TVWS model rules, incorporating the experience of many DSA members who are leaders in TVWS technology and deployment,” said Kalpak Gude, president of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance. “The Alliance has long been championing TVWS technology to connect those in underserved and rural locations, which will in turn help to bridge the digital divide. Our membership consists of organisations at the forefront of TVWS developments, and we will continue to work together to ensure global connectivity, while maintaining the most effective and efficient use of spectrum, is achieved.”

TVWS refers to unused frequencies in the wireless spectrum between TV broadcasts. The new rules are designed to facilitate and encourage international regulatory harmonisation for TVWS, and to help countries where creating a bespoke regulatory environment for TVWS from scratch is difficult and time intensive due to limited resources and the nature of the process of developing new regulations. Instead, regulators can use the new model rules as a customisable out-of-the-box solution, for a faster and more efficient way to enable TVWS networks to be launched in their markets.

Adam Leach, director of emerging technology at Nominet, an Ofcom-approved white space database operator and member of the DSA, said: “We’re delighted to publish the new set of model TVWS rules and hope they’ll help to accelerate new deployments all over the world. TVWS has the potential to bring connectivity to people and places that have never had it before, and truly revolutionise their lives in the process. We’ve worked hard to build on the foundations laid by Ofcom and the FCC, and hope the new rules offer the best of both worlds to countries that are considering TVWS technologies. Once adopted, operators, device manufacturers and database providers alike will be able to enter new markets very quickly, and with minimal start-up costs – meaning they can launch and start delivering benefits to local communities faster than ever before.”

The DSA claims that the revised model rules enable flexible network topologies such as mesh networks, TVWS in high-speed, long-distance scenarios such as on trains, and a more streamlined regulatory framework to facilitate market growth.

Rules governing the use of TVWS are required to ensure that TVWS users do not cause interference to incumbent users, such as television broadcasters and domestic television users.

The new DSA TVWS model rules can be read here.

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