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UK To Get Whitespace Radio

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the in-the-ditch dept.

Communications 71

judgecorp writes "The UK's telecom regulator, Ofcom, will approve whitespace radio, allowing systems that use vacant spaces in the TV broadcast spectrum on the same 'license' exempt basis as Wi-Fi. It is hoped that white space radio will solve the rural broadband crisis in the country. From the article: 'Ofcom hopes for deployments by 2013, putting the UK ahead of other countries, and proposes it be used for a higher-power variant of Wi-Fi as well as for rural broadband connections and machine-to-machine communication.'"

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71 comments

Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283402)

But arent "crises" usually time-sensitive issues which generally have gotten worse? Seems a bit much to call "some people continue to be without internet" a crisis.

Sorry, but language "inflation" bothers me, it devalues words.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283432)

It might contribute to an education or information delivery crisis. (That crisis being that the reduced commincation infrastructure is creating local pockets of populations that are so poorly educated as to be an outstanding burden on the rest of the country. Ignoring the infrastucture problem would only worsen the crisis.)

Not saying that is the case- more likely just media hyperbole- but possible in theory. I don't know much about the uk's telecom system to know.

BS (3, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283844)

"hat crisis being that the reduced commincation infrastructure is creating local pockets of populations that are so poorly educated"

I'm sorry , what? Schools have these things called "teachers" who teach the children and I think you'll find people in the country are very WELL educated because they have decent schools with teachers who can teach and don't just dump kids in front of a PC. Its in the inner city - where good broadband services are available - where you'll find a lot more of the idiotic and lazy kids.

Re:BS (1)

bongomanaic (755112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37288948)

In fact the rural poor do significantly worse than the urban poor in England, and the gap is greater the further you get from the big cities. I can think of at least two reasons for this: rural schools are less well funded than urban schools, and access to pre-school and nursery care is worse in rural areas.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37284046)

Surely the main pockets of poorly educated people in Britain are not in the countryside but in inner cities? There is no doubt that the lack of rural broadband provision has an effect on business and commerce but I don't believe it can be blamed for poor educational standards.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284306)

I actually think that a lack of an internet connection might be helpful, in some respects.

When I first encountered computers, they did very little that was interesting unless you engaged with the machine and learned something about how it worked. In contrast, a modern PC with an internet connection is pretty much an endless fount of effortless entertainment. My 7 year old daughter seems to do little other with it than playing Flash games. Now, some of them are educational, but I don't see any that actually teach you about the computer.

Back then of course, I would have loved an internet connection - the technical references for computers of the era was all dead-tree and sometimes very expensive. The 8-bit machines usually came with reference manuals detailing BASIC (and in the case of the BBC Micro, the assembler as well). API reference manuals for the 16-bit machines were notably NOT included. I was able to find a free C compiler, but unable to use any of the window GUI because I couldn't afford the API manuals. And the only form of comms back then were BBS systems, and slow modems on a pay-per-minute telephone system, which were just not going to happen in my house. My programming habits withered away at that point, only to be rekindled some years later when I gained employment at a software company. If I'd gotten into the C family of languages, I would speculate that my career would have been much different, and probably more lucrative.

My daughter was intrigued by the ability to have a computer repeatedly PRINT "DAD SMELLS" when I booted a BBC emulator up for her to show her the computer of my youth.. but hasn't really taken to programming yet (at the age of 7).

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284322)

Surely the main pockets of poorly educated people in Britain are not in the countryside but in inner cities?

They are in both. My mother used to teach in North Devon. Lots of the children that she taught were the offspring of people who had left school at 16 or maybe 18 and been unemployed for their entire lives. Teaching children who live in an environment where learning is not valued is very challenging.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283440)

But arent "crises" usually time-sensitive issues which generally have gotten worse? Seems a bit much to call "some people continue to be without internet" a crisis.

Sorry, but language "inflation" bothers me, it devalues words.

But arent "crises" usually time-sensitive issues which generally have gotten worse? Seems a bit much to call "some people continue to be without internet" a crisis.

Sorry, but language "inflation" bothers me, it devalues words.

The crisis is that there are people in the UK that currently can't be tracked through their internet usage. This needs to change!

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283566)

Language Inflation leads to eventual massive understatement.
For example, detonating a nuclear warhead in London would be considered "problematic" or "terrible" as opposed to "catastrophic" or "calamatous".
You know the shits hit the fan when hyperbole can't convey the issue properly.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 2 years ago | (#37285354)

... and I guess we'd be in line for an eight day silence to mark our respect!

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (2)

JanneM (7445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283578)

The consequences of being without access are rapidly getting worse though. As recently as five years ago, internet access was a small luxury along the lines of having cable television. Today it's rapidly approaching the point where net access will rival having a place of residence in importance for your everyday life.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37284778)

Today it's rapidly approaching the point where net access will rival having a place of residence in importance for your everyday life.

No it isn't. This is bullshit.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37285330)

Yes, it is. Local councils are cutting back on face-to-face services, and now only handling certain types of query online. Some others, they charge more money for if you don't do them online. Information is now frequently only available via web sites, where previously it would be put in leaflets and left in the libraries, etc. Increasing numbers of jobs are only accepting applications via email or web sites. To an ever-increasing extent, basic and important services are beginning to require Internet access.

Yes, it isn't at the level of necessity that having a home is. But the indications are that for the foreseeable future, it will continue to approach this level, and at some point may even be comparable to it (although I would say it is unlikely to surpass it). And only a few years ago it would have been unimaginable to compare them. This seems to suggest a rapid rate of approach to me.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37286914)

Yes, it is. Local councils are cutting back on face-to-face services,

Except, obviously, in those places which have poor internet access. I really doubt that the DMV out in some town in Arkansas is pushing an "internet only" initiative.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

PybusJ (30549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37287620)

Now I've never been to Arkansas, but I believe it is some way from the UK -- the subject of the original article. Here in Britain we elected (well more we ended up with, since we didn't give any party a majority) a coalition government which promised significant budget cuts to limit the deficit (I think you know about these arguments).

One of the ways they promised to square the circle of a population that didn't like budget deficits, but neither cares for the removal of services, was to promise that there are services which can be delivered more cheaply by moving online. This then leaves them open to attack about those households who are not online, and the rural areas where there is little provision.

Now none of our country is as sparsely populated as the rural midwest, so the problem's not so hard as in the US, but the £400m that they have promised to spend on rural broadband still won't go very far. Depending on your political point of view, you can see this as welcome deregulation which will allow private sector innovation to step in and solve the problem, or a political fig leaf which won't make any real difference but gives the current government the chance to say they're doing stuff.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37289912)

a coalition government which promised significant budget cuts to limit the deficit (I think you know about these arguments).

Yes, theyre always lots of fun, I dont think anyone disagrees with that.

was to promise that there are services which can be delivered more cheaply by moving online.

That said, if a local government agency is in the middle of the boondocks, is it not reasonable to assume they will continue to provide in-person service until the infrastructure supports online-only?

This then leaves them open to attack about those households who are not online, and the rural areas where there is little provision.

Fair enough. Still dont think it comes anywhere close to the level of "crisis", but Im not denying that it is a "problem".

Depending on your political point of view, you can see this as welcome deregulation which will allow private sector innovation to step in and solve the problem, or a political fig leaf which won't make any real difference but gives the current government the chance to say they're doing stuff.

Internets one of those funny things where, despite my conservative instincts, I dont have a ready answer. It probably depends a good deal on how easy or difficult it is to get the necessary permits to run lines, and what the level of competition is, and how big the ISPs margins are (if the profits per customer are low enough, theres a good chance it simply wont be worth it to run new lines).

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283768)

It's easy to say that in your cushy broadband filled world. If you lived in the countryside in the UK and couldn't even get 1Mbps internet it would be a crisis for you too. Anyone without high speed internet is definitely being left behind in the ongoing technical revolution. You can easily (and legally) save hundreds of pounds a year while retaining the same quality of life by having a good net connection, and for some people that in itself is a big deal.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283872)

"If you lived in the countryside in the UK and couldn't even get 1Mbps internet it would be a crisis for you too."

Oh please. Turn off your hyperbole-o-matic. Most people in the country either work on the land or commute to an office in a town. In the former case the internet is hardly a major requirement for their daily existence and in the latter they'll probably have net access at work , in neither case is there a "crisis". Perhaps to you an obvious net addict like you it would be but we're not talking about you.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283918)

The internet is pretty much essential for those who work on the land, too. Modern agriculture and husbandry isn't the world of Beatrix Potter any more. And the lack of internet hits other workers, too. The head office of the company I work for used to be in an area where they couldn't get broadband. It didn't matter when they were set up 30 years ago, but it matters now so they've relocated to somewhere that they can get access, moving jobs away from what was already a depressed area.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284164)

"The internet is pretty much essential for those who work on the land, too."

Bollocks. Do you actually know any farmers? I do. Believe me, when they're dipping the sheep they don't really care if they can access iPlayer or not. The internet might be a nice-to-have where they can look up work related issues but it is no way an essential.

"Modern agriculture and husbandry isn't the world of Beatrix Potter any more"

No , it isn't. But you don't need the internet to use a tractor or sell your goods especially if you're already locked into a wholesaler/supermarket contract.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284240)

"The internet is pretty much essential for those who work on the land, too."

Bollocks. Do you actually know any farmers? I do.

So do I. Quite a few of my family are farmers.

Believe me, when they're dipping the sheep they don't really care if they can access iPlayer or not.

And nor do I when I'm doing engineering consultancy. But farmers are in business, and a heavily regulated business at that, with very narrow margins. Ready and efficient access to suppliers, customers, regulators and funding bodies is likely to be the difference between profit and loss. That makes it essential.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37286980)

So do I. Quite a few of my family are farmers.

AH, I see, so because they found it necessary to have internet, clearly all farmers must. No way others might get along just fine without it.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37288876)

It's about the same merit as your argument that because some do without it it's not essential to any. Simply, it matters to those running the farms, so although those working the farm don't use it, the viability of the farm they work on (and with that their jobs) probably depends on it.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37289998)

If it is vital to their job, they already have it, or they wouldnt have a job (and I would argue relying on it in an area of poor infrastructure is a really bad decision). If theyre not relying on it, they dont need it as an emergency measure.

Im not saying none of this stuff is good for progress, but it is not necessary by any stretch of the imagination. Farmers have been doing this stuff for centuries without internet, and continue to to this day.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37290830)

If it is vital to their job, they already have it, or they wouldnt have a job

They're not competitive with places that have it. They can hold out, but will slowly go under.

(and I would argue relying on it in an area of poor infrastructure is a really bad decision).

Yes, it's so daft having farms in rural areas, isn't it? They'd be so much more efficient in city centres.

Farmers have been doing this stuff for centuries without internet, and continue to to this day.

Again, you don't seem to understand how much farming has changed.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284728)

Bollocks. Do you actually know any farmers?

Yes, I actually am a farmer. High-speed internet access is more important than you'd expect. We spend a lot of time buying and selling livestock, and doing it over fast reliable internet connections takes a lot of the hassle out of it. We buy fuel and materials online, because it's cheaper and quicker than trailing around various different suppliers.

I probably spend more time online working on farm-related stuff than I used to on webdev-related stuff when I did that ;-)

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37287002)

Sounds like you used to be involved in technology; its not suprising that you would continue to use it for an undeniable advantage as a farmer.

But that really doesnt mean its a crisis if all farmers in a region dont have internet, as a good number still do things as they always have. Just because its a convenience to you, doenst mean you NEED it or that anyone else does in order to do their job.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37293016)

It's a pain in the arse, though. Why do people who live in cities need fast internet connections? It's not really a crisis for them if they can't get online, since they are going to be spending all their time walking to bus stops and travelling to the CBD to do their shopping...

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37286970)

Modern agriculture and husbandry isn't the world of Beatrix Potter any more.

Funny, I knew a number of them (part of my extended family), and I dont recall internet ever being super important for what they did.

The internet as we know it has been around for about 15 years or so (in terms of consumer access and all the rest). What has happened in that time that makes you think farmers HAVE to have internet in order to grow and sell their crops, or to raise and sell cattle?

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

lolcutusofbong (2041610) | more than 2 years ago | (#37289338)

Fincancial news, weather forecasts available on a farmer's schedule instead of a commuter's, and local BBS-type fora for discussing local issues without driving into town or paying for conference calls. WebMD's veterinary equivalent for fixing cow problems. News about animal disease epidemics. Articles about best practices for pest control, antibiotics in feed, etc. Modern farming is pretty complex.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37289946)

WebMD makes it so the local vet is no longer capable of doing his job? (for that matter, whens the last time you skipped going to a doctor for WebMD-- for me its been never)
Farmers need to use BBSes?
The TV isnt capable of doing weather forecasts?

These things just arent necessities.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37286434)

In the country? In parts of Milton Keynes, the current maximum broadband speed is less than 512k.

Still not a "crisis", though.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37286938)

It's easy to say that in your cushy broadband filled world. If you lived in the countryside in the UK and couldn't even get 1Mbps internet it would be a crisis for you too.

Not if id never had 1mbps internet, and not by any reasonable definition of the word crisis.

Anyone without high speed internet is definitely being left behind in the ongoing technical revolution.

Meaningless buzz-word alert. What about this technological revolution necessitates my stepfather in the deep south having a broadband connection? Is there any reason he and his family absolutely need internet to continue doing the things theyve done for years?

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37287858)

No. If everyone thought like that, we'd still all be sleeping in caves and dying at 25.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37289830)

Just because you want to push for improvement and progress doesnt mean you need to demean legitimate crisis (like imminent threat of death for a population, or war, or famine) by equating it with "do not have internet".

Seriously, get some perspective.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283776)

Whatta ya mean it isn't a crisis?!

These poor people are left in sometimes sub-56k days with slow-loading porn!
That is a painful existence for those millions.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283892)

Agree with your general point - that it's silly to haul out the linguistic heavy guns for the purpose of shooting sparrows.

I do think something can become a crisis, without getting worse though.

Lacking adequate internet-connection isn't really a crisis - but it is a problem that becomes larger as the Internet grows in importance. If you where without broadband a decade ago, and you're still without broadband, then that particular problem is growing - despite your connectivity being the same it always was.

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283948)

Not to be "insensitive"?

Too late. It's called "whitespace".

Just how racist and insensitive can one get?

Re:Not to be insensitive or pedantic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37284464)

The ones that want internet in the country, where people generally live BECAUSE they want "get away from it all", are city folks that you generally see connected to facebook or something similar 24/7.

If you just want to stay in touch with family and friends then, phone or email on dialup works just fine. Anything more, is just a luxury, and should be paid for accordingly.

whitesnake radio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283442)

I'm just so glad to see it's not Whitesnake radio, that could have restarted that whole 1812 thing.

AWFULLY RACIST !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283480)

What no black, I mean african-america, space there in the uk ?? Get with the times !! Is this to what the uk has fallen ?? The queen is rolling in his grave !!

Re:AWFULLY RACIST !! (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283576)

Freddie never stopped rockin' and rollin'. Except when Wyclef Jean did "another one bites the dust". Then he just facepalmed.

Re:AWFULLY RACIST !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283596)

If anything, it would be 'African-British'... Don't foist your African-American terminology on the Brits!

Re:AWFULLY RACIST !! (3, Informative)

Dan Dankleton (1898312) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283926)

No, African-American is the politically correct way to say black all over the world, didn't you know. Except in most countries it's Non-American African-American.

'license exempt' is the problem (2)

ToBeDecided (2426750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283534)

The lack of a requirement to operate under a license will only make a mess of the available spectrum, exactly as it is with both 2.4 and 5.8 GHz wifi. In places where there are many competing WISPs, nothing actually works, because all of them are interfering with each others’ access points. The licenses should be essentially free, but at the same time the number of operators in a given area should be limited. The thing about rural areas is that there are not many potential customers there, so installing a 10.000$ professional radio relay for 10 customers is simply not viable. The hardware needs to be cheap, the license needs to be free and the company that would get the license should not have to worry about interference from their competition, because otherwise it’s not worth the WISP’s trouble and they drop those problematic locations quite quickly.

Re:'license exempt' is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283640)

Oh shut it , this ain't 2.4 Ghz, tv wavelengths go a long way , and through a lot of sutff. Your $10.000 radio ain't gona serve 10 customers , it's gona serve 1000.

Re:'license exempt' is the problem (1)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284218)

TV signals go a long way because they are coming from 10,000 to 100,000 watt transmitters. 2.4 Ghz signals will also go a long way with that level of power. Most of the deprecated TV spectrum is still well into the VHF band which is only slightly less LOS then the far UHF stuff like WiFi. The GP is exactly right that license exempt spectrum (and especially high power licence exempt) will quickly fill up and render the allocation not useful as the primary form of Internet for rural users.

The reason companies are clamouring for this spectrum is because they have already turned the old license exempt allocations into cess pools. ie instead of running a few feet of cables idiots plug cheap Chinese APs that use unshielded house wiring for a LAN, and then wonder why their other wireless devices seem to now have signal problems (and make it ludicrously easy for crims to monitor their network traffic). Or cheap WiFi routers that just use default channels so your house ends up hearing twenty routers all screaming on the same channel.

Long-distance VHF/UHF happens often (1)

molo (94384) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284844)

Look at the records for 144MHz [www.ham.se] and 430MHz [www.ham.se] long distance ham radio contacts (two-way contacts; ignore the EME section, those are being bounced off the moon). Note that distances are in kilometers. Tropospheric ducting is occasionally strong enough to even propagate 430MHz FM signals long distances, like the 2672km contact between northwestern Spain and a ship off the coast of Mauritania.

Most countries limit their ham radio licensees to less than 2kW. In the US it is 1.5kW. In the UK it depends on the license level, I think. This is more than enough power to reach long distances, even on VHF and UHF. The reason your FM broadcast radio doesn't reach long distances is basically that broadcast radio receivers are generally very poor in terms of sensitivity. And the antennas used are similarly poor. Another factor is that the US radio market (maybe the UK also?) is fairly saturated in metropolitan areas. When you drive close to the edge range of a transmitter, often another station begins interfering. There is a zone where you can receive neither very well without directional antennas.

Some more reading on VHF propagation is on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

-molo

Re:'license exempt' is the problem (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37285018)

TV signals go a long way because they are coming from 10,000 to 100,000 watt transmitters. . .

. . . which are, in turn, connected to transmit antennas having a gain of 10 to 15 dB, giving them an effective radiated power of hundreds of thousands to millions of watts.

Re:'license exempt' is the problem (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37285514)

TV signals go a long way because they are coming from 10,000 to 100,000 watt transmitters.

Analogue TV, yes. Digital TV, however, requires nothing like the power. I get my digital TV feed from an 8kW transmitter located about 30 miles away, and the frequency used for this (~450MHz) isn't that different from analogue TV frequencies. Interestingly, a 4kW signal from a transmitter located close to this one is not receivable, although this may be due to co-channel interference issues as others not far from me have reported that it does work.

Re:'license exempt' is the problem (1)

Stellian (673475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284906)

... the company that would get the license should not have to worry about interference from their competition ...

Thank you very much for your proposal. May I inform you that we already have huge chunks of spectrum that are being auctioned off exclusively to a certain company for many years. In fact, it's the standard way to allocate the spectrum. Once they get that licence, they don't need to worry about competition - it's illegal to compete with them for the spectrum, pound-me-in-the-ass-3-to-7-illegal.

Needless to say, that didn't work so well for rural coverage. I say a bit of open competition is more than welcome, and if it fails we can fallback to the traditional model. Far too often large telcos bid billions of dollars for these spectrum blocks, only to extort that money back from the public via high prices in a limited competition environment. It's effectively a government tax on communication enforced by private corporations, a.k.a fascism.

It's impossible to have both a free license and low competition as you request - that's not how the market works. You either have high competition spurred by the low entry barrier, or low competition when corporations price-out or lobby-out everybody else.

Re:'license exempt' is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37285152)

While interfering is a problem, it a much smaller problem in practice. Any radio communication system already have to deal with a huger number of users on the same frequency, so handling interfering have been part of the inventive progress for the last 20 years. Even if it would fail beyond what would be a usable for communicating between "tower" and "user", this will still mean that the possibility to link towns together with directional Directional antenna between tower and tower without going through any of the old infrastructure. The result could be anything from self-assembled networks to "free" telephony service between two neighboring towns.

Re:'license exempt' is the problem (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37288240)

Agreed - we have enough interference problems to work out among licensed broadcast television stations in the US already! The industry is still maximizing transmitter power and moving around antennas after the transition from analog to digital (I know a station finally moving on to Sutro Tower with their full-power DTV signal next week, for instance), and on a daily basis working out interference problems.

Even for non-co-channel interference, Intermodulation product problems in DTV receiver circuits abound for unlicensed transmissions in adjacent and second adjacent channels. If you want to understand these issues, check out Charlie Rhodes column [tvtechnology.com] in TV Technology.

If you want to set up an entire band for "cognitive radio", I'm sure that would work OK, but mixing licensed high-power and unlicensed low-power broadcasts in the same band is simply going to lead to interference.

There is a reason why whitespace data is being pushed on the broadcast TV bands rather than the military bands (where there is even more "white space").

Rural? UK? ATFS? (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283556)

What do they consider rural in the UK? Is there any truly rural space left in the British Isles? I hate to think what large swathes of Australia, Canada and the USA where plenty of people live might be considered.

Re:Rural? UK? ATFS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283584)

Rural just means outside of towns and whatnot. When you need to be within ~5km of the telephone exchange for broadband its easy to classify various pockets of countryside as rural, even if they're only 10km from the nearest town / telephone exchange

Re:Rural? UK? ATFS? (0)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283672)

OK, just stick a CMUX outside of town - that's what they do here in Oz. The rural region I live in has CMUX's serving ADSL and ADSL2 to villages and the like and if you can't get that there's subsidised WiMax and if you're really stuck subsidised two way satellite and of course 3G at 900MHz and 850MHz which can be received just fine at 100km if you whack a yagi on the roof. The UK should rename their telco to Spivtel. The current federal govt. is tripping over themselves to supply 100Mbit optic fibre to just about everyone. The sun set on the UK as a poweranything a long, long time ago.

Re:Rural? UK? ATFS? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283604)

rural in this instant means too far by copper from local exchange for decent adsl speeds. remember a lot of the uk telephone network is very very old simply because of how early we adopted the telephone. My dad was a GPO (predecessor of BT) engineer in the 70's and I have memories of going into a small (8'x6') hut at the end of the village playing field which was full of electromechanical telecoms switches and was the villages exchange. The following year it was replaced with a larger exchange due to the building of a new estate but all the did was run an extension from the location of the old exchange to the new and as far as i know there has been no relaying of cabling since then

Re:Rural? UK? ATFS? (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283622)

What do they consider rural in the UK? Is there any truly rural space left in the British Isles? I hate to think what large swathes of Australia, Canada and the USA where plenty of people live might be considered.

Yes there is some. Some parts of The Scottish Highlands [google.co.uk] are really remote. And of course there are uninhabited islands [wikipedia.org].

Re:Rural? UK? ATFS? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284832)

If an island is uninhabited, I'm willing to venture a guess that the demand for high-speed network connectivity by residents is fairly low.

Re:Rural? UK? ATFS? (3, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37284270)

Don't confuse "rural" with "remote". It is entirely possible to live in a very rural area of South East England, and SE England has generally a very high population density.

I'm guessing you're from the United States or Canada where there's lots of territory that is "remote", and in urban areas the suburban sprawl is so huge that a city of 4M people covers a colossal area. But in the UK cities are very compact and "green belt" legislation has prevented many cities from expanding much, and has pretty much stopped suburban sprawl completely dead. Therefore the urban areas are very compact. It's very evident that when you fly over the UK, there are vast areas of rural green space. Just because it's not remote doesn't make it not rural. Much of these rural areas are far enough away from a telephone exchange that you'll have performance problems with a 56K modem and ADSL just isn't a viable proposition. However, they aren't "remote" and therefore (for the most part) can be easily be provisioned by radio signals.

Once you get north of Manchester, the population density really drops off, too, and as you get further into Scotland you do find remote, hard-to-get-to areas. While not as remote as, say, northern Alaska, they are remote enough that if you get caught there in a winter storm without good equipment you're very likely to die. The population isn't evenly spread around Great Britain by any stretch of the imagination.

I wonder what Jodrell Bank make of this (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283650)

The Jodrell Bank Observatory [wikipedia.org] has made man many world-class discoveries. Will it be blinded now the whole spectrum is to be filled?

Re:I wonder what Jodrell Bank make of this (3, Informative)

CProgrammer98 (240351) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283680)

no, they're reusing the old analog tv broadcast frequencies which are in the process of being decommissioned for TV broadcasting. No new frequencies are involved.

Re:I wonder what Jodrell Bank make of this (1)

arazor (55656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283848)

The Jodrell Bank Observatory [wikipedia.org] has made man many world-class discoveries. Will it be blinded now the whole spectrum is to be filled?

Just curious.

Would you give up your internet access permanently so the observatory could function?

Re:I wonder what Jodrell Bank make of this (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37283876)

The Jodrell Bank Observatory [wikipedia.org] has made man many world-class discoveries. Will it be blinded now the whole spectrum is to be filled?

Just curious.

Would you give up your internet access permanently so the observatory could function?

No but I'd give up having enhanced wifi

Licence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37283970)

If you're going to put it in apostrophes as though it's a quotation, then spell it as the source would: licence. In British English, "license" is a verb, and "licence" is the noun.

laostour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37284374)

I LOVE LAOS

http://www.L2btravel.com

The real problem of rural broadband is BT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37287158)

BT are BLOCKING Fujitsu from putting FIBER all over the entire countryside by its unfair pricing for access to the cable DUCTs.

BT KNOWS that Fujitsu will SLAUGHTER BT if they done that.

BT opens up the copper and exchanges and cable ducts per law, but puts a HIGH price on it to block competitors.

BT has their own fiber, only for them.

This is why the UK is doomed to be a third world of the internet compared to the rest of Europe.

Rip off Britain, Fat cat heaven.

UK sucks as a technology country.

Never happen in the us (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37291326)

The telcos have far too much control over the FCC to allow sometime like this to happen.

Im surprised wifi was allowed 'out of the labs', with the potential for neighborhood mesh networks.

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