The pilot, running in Cambridge, will investigate how the unused TV spectrum "could provide an inexpensive solution to satisfy the escalating wireless connectivity requirements of UK consumers and businesses in towns, cities and rural areas". The technology has already been successfully explored in the US and other European countries.
Starting Wednesday, the trial will aim to show that white space broadband would not interfere with TV channels, meaning it could provide a new way to serve the growing demand for data from smartphones and tablet computers. The market for mobile broadband is expected to increase by 92% between 2011 and 2015.
In a statement, the Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium said: "With the number of connected devices and data applications growing rapidly, and with mobile networks feeling the strain, we must find ways of satisfying the traffic demands of today and tomorrow.
"This trial will attempt to demonstrate that unused TV spectrum is well-placed to increase the UK's available mobile bandwidth, which is critical to effectively responding to the exponential growth in data-intensive services, while also enabling future innovation."
The Cambridge trial is similar to an existing white space pilot on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, but it will instead focus on machine-to-machine communication. The trial will run tests of high-quality video and audio streaming using content from the BBC and Sky over the TV white spaces spectrum to a range of mobile devices, including handsets from Nokia and Samsung.
TV white space hotspots will be activated at local pubs and leisure venues in Cambridge, along with commercial and residential premises. The trial is not open to the public, but industry stakeholders will be invited to experience a number of planned demonstrations.
The consortium said that it selected Cambridge for the trial because the city has "a long history in developing novel wireless communication technologies and offers an environment for testing diverse uses of the TV white spaces network".
The groups also noted that while Cambridge itself has good broadband access, "some neighbouring villages suffer poor broadband service, allowing the advantageous range of TV white spaces communications to be demonstrated".
Last November, media regulator Ofcom outlined plans for how 'white space technology' could be used to provide broadband and other services. The media regulator believes that the unused spectrum could effectively transmit and receive wireless signals as it travels further and passes more easily through walls compared to other frequencies.