TV White Space

In a busy online world, we’re looking at alternative places for transmitting data


TV white space (TVWS) is the name given to parts of the wireless spectrum that were freed up during the digital TV switchover. TVWS radios offer broadband speeds over several kilometres and the signal can travel through permanent obstacles such as buildings and trees, as well as around terrain.


TVWS is free for anyone to use and build their own network. Given the appealing characteristics of TVWS, a number of potential uses have been identified, including providing broadband connectivity to rural communities, delivering wireless connectivity across campuses, and connecting IoT devices.


With the huge increase in wireless devices, improving the efficiency of radio spectrum is becoming vital. An innovative new technology – Dynamic Spectrum Management – optimises the bandwidth available by enabling different radios to share the same TVWS frequency bands without causing interference. Dynamic Spectrum Management uses real-time databases to connect users with unused spectrum based on their time and location.


UK TV White Space Geo-Location Database

We offer an Ofcom-approved geo-location database, which is required for TVWS services in the UK. The database has been tested with all major radio manufacturers and is able to perform smart allocation of channels.

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Network Operator Tools

We offer tailored support for potential or existing TVWS network operators, including:

  • Use case evaluation
  • Spectrum availability studies
  • Link feasibility assessments
  • Network deployment advisory services
  • Radio planning tools

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Regulatory Advisory Services

We can advise regulators on developing policy and deploying databases for dynamic spectrum management on TVWS as well as other wireless bands.

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Nominet works at the forefront of TVWS development. The first company to to qualify a TVWS geo-location database for operation in the UK, our work with Ofcom led to the creation of the UK TVWS operational framework. We have practical and operational expertise through building TVWS networks and operating a TVWS link to connect water level sensors for the Oxford Flood Network since late 2014. The Nominet TVWS database builds on Nominet’s experience of running the .uk domain registry for 20 years.


Dynamic spectrum management isn’t limited to TV bands and we are actively assessing other opportunities for the technology to improve efficient spectrum use. We are also involved in developing standards, for example contributing to the Weightless-N standard for low-power, wide area networks for the IoT.

Visit our R&D blog to find out more about our TVWS work.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • TV white space (TVWS) is a new and exciting wireless technology for transmitting data over long distances.

  • TVWS can be used by anyone to create long-range wireless network connections with broadband-like speeds. Like Wi-Fi, TVWS radios do not require a licence to be used. The flexibility, long range and relatively high bandwidth makes TVWS ideally suited for applications such as rural broadband, campus-wide networks and connecting IoT devices.

  • You need at least two TVWS radios, as well as access to a TVWS geo-location database (such as Nominet’s). Depending on the capabilities of the TVWS radios you might also require an operational licence (see below). TVWS radios are made by a range of companies such as Adaptrum, 6Harmonics, and Carlson Wireless.

  • Licences are not required for receiving-only equipment and for devices which are able to automatically determine their location (via GPS or other geo-location service). However, devices which require manual location configuration do currently need a operational licence as specified by Ofcom. This currently costs £1500 per year for an unlimited number of devices.

  • In general TVWS radios work in the UHF and VHF TV bands. In the UK the allocated band for TVWS use is from 470MHz to 790MHz (694MHz after the re-purposing of the 700MHz band which is expected to take place in 2020). The frequencies assigned for TVWS vary by country.

  • Access to the TV band is granted on a secondary-use fashion, i.e. you can transmit as long you do not interfere with primary users such as TV broadcasters and, in the UK, Programme Making and Special Events equipment (PMSE), such as wireless microphones. In order make sure that TVWS devices do not create interference, they will need to query a geo-location database to obtain the available channels in their location.

  • Devices can transmit as long as they do not interfere with primary users. This means that they need to know what are the channels available and the maximum transmitted power that they can use. A geo-location database is able to efficiently provide such information while enforcing the policies given by the regulator. The devices do not need to be smart, as the calculations are all be done by the database.

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