Arran island to use spare TV spectrum to boost broadband

In an innovative new plan, the island of Arran in Scotland is to use TV ‘white space’ - the spare broadcast spectrum that isn’t being used - to deliver broadband across the isle. Though it’s been theorised that white space could be used for this for some time, Arran is the first area in Europe to roll the tech out commercially.

The spectrum used to be used to broadcast telly, but now it's been repurposed to transfer data to areas where fixed-line internet and Wi-Fi can't reach, via a rather clever dynamic spectrum allocation process.

This comes thanks to a company called Nominet, who previously trialled the tech in Oxford in a project where it monitored water levels. BT have done some similar broadband-specific trials too on the nearly Isle of Bute, which achieved download speeds of 14Mb - comparable to basic fixed-line broadband - and Microsoft has used it to connect boats in the Solent.

And now, Nominet has re-used the same system of data transfer to help out the 5,000 residents of the remote Arran island with its broadband.

Two packages of white space broadband are available to residents:

  • Silver - up to 25Mb download speed, up to 2Mb upload speed - £25 per month
  • Gold - up to 35Mb download speed, up to 3Mb upload speed - £35 per month

Installation is costly at £200, but with a Better Broadband voucher from the government, it's free.

For more info, take a look at the Arran Broadband website.

Source: Wired

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