BT trials white-space broadband on Bute

BT is trialling the use of the so-called white spaces between TV broadcasts for the delivery of high-speed broadband, the company has revealed.On Tuesday, BT Openreach said it was conducting the trial on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, with partners including the University of Strathclyde, BBC Research and Development, Steepest Ascent, Berg Design and Netpropagate.

BT is trialling the use of the so-called white spaces between TV broadcasts for the delivery of high-speed broadband, the company has revealed.

On Tuesday, BT Openreach said it was conducting the trial on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, with partners including the University of Strathclyde, BBC Research and Development, Steepest Ascent, Berg Design and Netpropagate. It said the government's Technology Strategy Board was providing funding.

The Isle Of Bute. Credit: Nasa

White spaces are the bits of spectrum in the TV-oriented 400-800MHz band that are left unused by broadcasters, so as to avoid interference between transmissions. There is an increasingly active movement looking to exploit this spectrum — kit-maker Neul said this week that there is 150MHz available in the UK — for broadband services.

Broadband carried over this spectrum has a very good range, so is seen as ideal for delivering connectivity to rural areas that have no or very slow connectivity.

"The initial results have been very promising with the technology being tested over long distances and challenging terrain," BT said in a statement. "Further tests are required however and so live trials are due to commence in July with approximately a dozen end users across the island."

According to BT, the customers in the live trial will have their wireless service linked back to the exchange building at Kilchattan Bay, "from where a dedicated radio link to the mainland will provide broadband internet access".

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