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A new Centre for White Space Communications at the University of Strathclyde could help to develop new wireless broadband technologies.

The centre, which has received support from the Scottish Funding Council, aims to develop new white space (IEEE 802.22) technologies that can utilise the unused spectrum between digital TV channels in the UK.

Tests have already been carried out in a number of locations - including Cornwall, Cambridge and the Isle of Bute - but the technology is as yet relatively immature.

By opening the research centre, the University of Strathclyde hopes to develop Wi-Fi solutions which could deliver connectivity over wide geographic areas.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said the centre is "taking the lead" to capitalise on a global opportunity that will have a positive impact on industry, business, communities and the wider economy.

"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," he stated.

Ed Vaizey, the UK Communications Minister, said the university has a "proud history" of leading research on mobile communications technology.

"This new centre promises to take that work even further," he stated.

"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.”

Jim Beveridge, Senior Director of Microsoft Technology Group, suggested TV white space technology has great potential to improve broadband services, particularly in the UK countryside.

"We believe tapping unused spectrum will help support innovation in the UK’s tech sector and extend the broadband access needed by rural and unserved communities, not only in the UK but globally," he stated.

It can "transform local economies" and create opportunities for ambitious small businesses, he claimed.

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