Digital Switch-Over plans have driven a thorough review of UHF spectrum and how it might be used. The deployment of low power white space devices (WSDs) has potential to deliver improved WiFi systems for mobile broadband and a new platform for multimedia streaming in the home. The FCC has recently approved plans for new fixed and mobile devices, based on a combination of spectrum sensing and geolocation. Devices are expected to appear in the market in the very near future, but will require significant modification to cope with the denser, higher-value network of transmitters in Europe. The spectrum sensing approach is at an early stage of development and in isolation is unlikely to provide the level of protection required to prevent interference to broadcast services and radio microphones. However when this technique is combined with Geolocation techniques with EIRP control, the technology rapidly becomes viable. The potential opportunity of a new harmonized, licence-exempt band to support on-demand multi-media streaming in the home is an irresistible target and the technology is creating considerable interest. This document was originally published in the Proceedings of IBC 2009.

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