A 10-month trial to test the capabilities of so-called white space technology to deliver mobile broadband coverage has been heralded a success by the 17 companies involved, including Microsoft, Samsung, Nokia and BT.
The trial took place in Cambridge and the surrounding area and ran on unused radio waves, or white spaces, between the 400-800MHz frequencies used for TV signals, to transmit and receive data that can be accessed by mobile devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones.
The consortium said its trials had demonstrated the technology's potential to offer Wi-Fi access in busy city centres, provide speeds of up to 8Mbit/s wireless connections in rural areas and provide a network for machine-to-machine communications.
Elsewhere, Nokia worked with Spectrum Bridge to develop a location-based application that ran in the Imperial War Museum, in Duxford, so visitors receive prompts on their mobile devices as they walked around the exhibits.
Communications minister Ed Vaizey welcomed the positive feedback on the trial, claiming it underlines the success of the UK's technology industry to create new markets that can benefit businesses and consumers.
"I find the idea of using white space devices to deliver broadband to rural communities, or to expand the range and quality of urban Wi-Fi hotspots, exciting," he said.
"This can form a significant contribution to our thinking as we consider how to maximise the value of the spectrum below 1GHz."
Ofcom had been leading an industry-wide consultation on how best to let firms access white space frequency, with the aim of getting a system in place by 2013 after announcing that white space devices will not require licences to access spectrum.
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