The UK Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey has formally opened the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for White Space Communications today.

The Centre was established with cash from the Scottish Funding Council and will work with industry and government to develop dynamic spectrum technology in the unused white space spectrum capacity.

Ed Vaizey.jpeg University of Strathclydes Centre for White Space Communications officially opened by Ed VaizeyWhite Spaces are frequencies that are allocated to broadcasters but are not used. The Centre for White Space says that applying access technology to the unused white space capacity can enable better broadband access for rural communities. This in turn can help to support businesses too through online commerce and naturally open communications channels for health or education.

The benefits for rural communities have already been illustrated through a trial project on the Isle of Bute where a number of homes now have broadband Internet by accessing previously unused white space.

At the event today, Mr Vaizey gave a keynote speech to representatives from Ofcom, academia and other industry players saying:

“The University of Strathclyde has a proud history of leading research on mobile communications technology and this new centre promises to take that work even further. This new facility provides an excellent opportunity for the UK to lead the development of this technology and realise the economic benefits of being at the forefront of this field.”

The Centre will be teaming up with partners including Microsoft, BT and the BBC to work out ways to make white space available and also find ways to work with bands made available through the discontinuation of analogue TV.

In a statement, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said that this is an opportunity that is not limited to the UK:

“The Centre for White Space Communications is taking the lead to capitalise on a global opportunity that will have a positive impact on industry, business, communities and the wider economy.

“This is typical of the approach taken at the University of Strathclyde to actively engage with industry and ensure our world-class research reaches industry throughout Scotland, the UK, and beyond. Strathclyde has a prominent role in technological innovation and the launch of this centre will help to put Scotland at the forefront of economic and social developments in the field.”

Images provided by University of Strathclyde