Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative):To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the capacity of unused television spectrum devices to (a) provide broadband access to rural areas and (b) offload broadband demand in urban areas.
Edward Vaizey (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport; Wantage, Conservative): I have not made an assessment as this is a matter for Ofcom as the independent spectrum regulator. There are trials of devices that the hon. Member refers to, known as white space devices, which are under way to see if they can safely coexist with existing users. One recently launched in Cambridge. But it would be difficult for Ofcom to make any meaningful assessment of the use of white spaces in assisting with existing broadband coverage or capacity until the results of those trials become known.