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Investors toss $5m to UK firm: Just keep making that White Space kit

Ofcom drags feet on making Neul's gear legal in Blighty

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Cambridge-based developer of White Space kit Neul has raised another $5m to keep it operational while hardware improves, and Ofcom gets round to making its devices legal.

The money follows the $12.8m which Neul has been spending since June last year, and comes from various investors including Mistui & Co. The money should enable Neul to ramp up production of its White Space radios, turning out thousands of boxes for deployments rather than the tens which are being used in trials around the world.

Neul claims demand is outstripping supply for its radios, which make use of the Neul-designed-but-publicly-shared Weightless protocol, despite it signing a deal with Californian outfit Carlson to outsource manufacturing from its Cambridge research base.

White Space radios operate in locally unused TV frequencies, so the hub needs to check with an online database to establish which frequencies are vacant. The FCC has approved a couple of databases in America, but Ofcom has been really busy lately and not got round to outlining the process by which databases will be approved, let alone approving any, so White Space radio remains illegal in this country.

Back in April we spoke to a rep from the Cabinet Office who told us that COBR, the government's emergency committee which doesn’t have an "e" at the end (he was adamant on that point), had acquired a pair of White Space radios from Neul, but not yet got permission from Ofcom to switch them on.

White Space has massive potential, assuming Ofcom can disentangle itself from the mobile-phone operators long enough to draft some legislation making it legal. Neul's additional funding should see it into mass production, so it will be a shame if that product can't be used here in Blighty. ®

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