U.K. to Refarm FM?

This appears to be a first: British broadcast regulator Ofcom is floating the idea of using FM radio spectrum to provide wireless broadband access in rural areas.
The United Kingdom is nearly 20 years into an attempted digital radio transition. It (and much of the rest of the developed world) has adopted a digital broadcast technology that uses spectrum outside the AM and FM bands. However, the development of digital radio is as stalled (or worse) in the U.K. at it is in the United States.
Despite this, Ofcom believes that other forms of digital communication could be employed in the “white spaces” of the FM dial – essentially unused spectrum in specific geographic locales. The FCC is considering the same refarming concept with television spectrum, which broadcasters have vowed to fight tooth and nail.
British regulators are careful to note that FM refarming is not designed to push existing FM radio broadcasters off the air – although they would still like to see the country commit to an analog/digital radio transition deadline sometime this decade.
Given the recalcitrance of broadcasters and listeners to embrace digital radio in the U.K., as well as broadcasters’ inherent sensitivity about protecting the integrity of their extant analog signals, it’ll probably take a while for this idea to progress beyond the trial-balloon stage.