World’s Insatiable Appetite for Spectrum Feeds a US$197.8 Million Projected Global Opportunity for TV White Space Spectrum
The global market for TV White Space Spectrum is projected to reach US$197.8 million by the year 2027, trailing a post COVID-19 CAGR of 54.3% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027. Supply of airwaves needed to deliver wireless communication & services is finite. TV White Space (TVWS) spectrum is the unused radio spectrum on terrestrial TV bands in the 470-694 MHz range. Also popular as buffer channels, these channels can be allocated for unlicensed use to players for areas not covered by licensed services. International and national agencies assign frequencies for various applications, with the broadcaster holding license for the spectrum. The frequency allocation involves band-plans that include assigning of white space among used channels or radio bands for avoiding interference. While several frequencies remain unused, they are assigned for specific purposes like guard band. The white space generally exists between various used channels as allocation of adjacent transmissions to nearby channels tends to cause undesirable interference. One of the main reasons behind creation of vacant spaces is the transition toward digital TV that is freeing up parts between 50MHz and 700MHz. The space creation can be attributed to packing of digital transmissions into adjacent channels, leading to compression of the band into fewer channels that permit more transmissions. Various studies have demonstrated that the unused white spectrum can be effectively leveraged for providing broadband Internet without affecting TV channels. TV white space spectrum is being exploited by several telecom and technology providers to deliver broadband Internet services.
Vacant TV frequencies in the US are mainly in the upper part of the UHF 700 MHz bands that cover TV channels 52-69 ranging between 698MHz and 806MHz. White spaces in the US are expected to continue existing in UHF frequencies along with VHF frequencies, where mobile users as well as white-space devices need larger antennas. TV white space spectrum is capable of offering tens of Mbps speed per channel over long distances. In addition, the combination of various channels holds potential to push the bandwidth further to deliver up to 100 Mbps. The ability of the technology to use lower frequencies in comparison to mobile and Wi-Fi networks allows signals to cover longer distances. In contrast to standard Wi-Fi routers that hold limited range of up to 100 meters and can be easily blocked by environmental barriers and obstacles like walls, TV white space technology and signals are capable of covering longer distances, penetrating obstacles like trees and buildings, and travelling around specific terrains to allow non-line of sight connections. Based on its enhanced range and capability to penetrate into obstacles, the technology is also termed as Super Wi-Fi. TV white space spectrum also holds merits over microwave links that need line-of-sight (LOS) between points intended to be connected.
The global TV white space spectrum market is set to record substantial growth in the coming years due to a number of favorable drivers and extensive adoption of the technology. Internet traffic is forecast to grow by over 26% per year while traffic from mobile devices will grow to account for 70% of all IP traffic. Increased wireless capacity under this scenario can offer invaluable benefits for ISPs in improving QoS and expanding broadband reach to rural areas. TVWS spectrum sharing increases radio spectrum for Internet access by allowing communication on frequencies which are currently not fully utilized. The FCC’s decision to legislate geolocation tagging to white space devices is a major win for the market as it unlocks TV white space spectrum for internet use. TV white space spectrum is finding increasing adoption in rural regions to push broadband connectivity. The technology presents a compelling, cost-effective option to enable rural broadband for remote areas, which is providing a major impetus to the market growth. The market is also benefitting from ongoing innovations across both developed and developing countries. In the coming years, the technology is anticipated to play a pivotal role in satiating the demand for affordable and efficient broadband services to remote areas. The TV white space spectrum market is propelled by increasing penetration of Super Wi-Fi or TV white space spectrum communications for covering long distances. Factors such as increasing focus on M2M, IoT, smart grid networks and urban connectivity are expected to bolster the market growth. The technology is likely to find use to address issues related to communications between smart meters deployed at customer homes and control centers. The concern is driving various companies to rely on TV white space spectrum-based communication for offering middle-mile connectivity to support smart meters and smart grid solutions. On the other hand, smart grid applications are not bandwidth-intensive and require fewer channels. The low bandwidth requirement is prompting various countries to consider TV white space spectrum-based communication channel. Smart grid control centers can leverage the communication network for middle-wire connectivity between smart metering devices and control centers. However, interference of TV white space spectrum with available TV bands remains a major concern. In addition, the market growth is hampered by irregularities associated with regulations and standards along with slow commercialization of the technology. Competitors identified in this market include, among others,
- Adaptrum, Inc.
- Atdi S.A.
- Aviacomm Inc.
- Carlson Wireless Technologies, Inc.
- Google LLC
- Keybridge LLC.
- Kts Wireless
- Meld Technology Inc.
- Metric Systems Corporation
- Microsoft Corporation
- Shared Spectrum Company