Ofcom has announced that Microsoft, Google, BT and others will take part in white space trials over the next six months in the UK.

The communications regulator claimed the UK will be among the first countries in the world to road-test white space technology, adding that it could help support the next wave of wireless innovation.

White space refers to the gaps in radio spectrum which exist between frequency bands. Spectrum is a finite resource that is in huge demand due to the explosion in smartphones, tablets and other wireless applications. White space compatible devices will be able to harness spectrum that would otherwise go unused.

Ofcom first revealed last spring that it wanted to trial white space technology in the UK, adding that it specifically wanted to utilise unused spectrum between the bands of digital terrestrial television broadcasting and wireless microphones.

The regulator revealed yesterday that around 20 public and private organisations will be participating in Ofcom’s pilot over the next six months. The most notable companies include Microsoft, Google and BT.

Microsoft's trial will look at using white space spectrum in Scotland to create a new WiFi network in Glawgow, while BT will work with Cambridge start-up Neul to run a test of white space services on behalf of the Depertment for Transport for traffic management technology along the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge. Meanwhile, Google is expected to help maintain the database used to manage the available spectrum.

Elsewhere, internet service provider, Click4internet, will work with KTS and and SineCom to test broadband in rural areas, where white space spectrum could provide a solution to broadband "not spots" because it can travel long distances and through solid objects.

"Spectrum is the raw material that will underpin the next revolution in wireless communications," said Steve Unger, Chief Technology Officer at Ofcom. "In the future it won’t be just mobiles and tablets that are connected to the internet; billions of other things including cars, crops, coffee machines and cardiac monitors will also be connected, using tiny slivers of spectrum to get online."

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