Television white space and the Internet of Things

Following the Executive Yuan’s confirmation on the spectrum provision plan for 2015 and beyond prepared by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, on August 16 2015 the National Communications Commission (NCC) gave the green light for industry to harness the benefits of innovative new wireless technology (for further details please see “NCC considers frequency allocation for Internet of Things”).

The NCC plans to release the television white space as soon as 2017 in the 500 megahertz (MHz) to 600MHz band used by licensed terrestrial broadcasters for very high frequency and ultra high frequency. White spaces are gaps in the radio spectrum in frequency bands which can be used to offer new wireless applications to benefit consumers and businesses. White space spectrum in the television frequency band is appealing because it can travel longer distances and more easily through walls than the bands mainly used by other wireless technologies (eg, Bluetooth and WiFi). A series of industry trials have been implemented for various uses (eg, smart meter, traffic surveillance and control systems, and wearable devices).

The NCC is now laying the foundations for industry to use television white spaces. A key part of this has been to allow these airwaves to be shared free of licence, while managing the risk of interference for existing users. The NCC has decided that low-power radio frequency devices (eg, wireless mice, keyboards, ear sets, selfie sticks, stylus pens and object locators applying Bluetooth in bands from 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) to 2.4835GHz) shall be licence exempt and prior type approval will no longer be required.

The NCC also supports other forms of wireless innovation and has been taking steps to build a spectrum databank for public access, which will help technology providers and industry players to access useful information regarding unused frequencies for the development of new applications and services. The NCC is evaluating a potential interference issue alongside the release of identified frequencies to be allocated to the Internet of Things. Local manufacturers and industry players regard this as an important step in helping Taiwan’s wireless infrastructure to evolve effectively.

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