This network will make use of spectrum which has been allocated to broadcasting services in South Africa, but which is not currently used (hence the term TV white spaces).
“The goal of the project is to establish the viability of TV White Spaces technology in South Africa through a pilot project connecting a number of schools in the Western Cape,” said Steve Song, one of the initial drivers behind this project.
Song explained that while speeds of up to 10Mbps may not sound remarkable, it should be noted that the TV white spaces technology does not require line of sight like Wi-Fi alternatives.
Hart said that the Cape Town TVWS Trial is expected to launch December 2012 and to operate for a period of 6 months.
“The equipment to operate the TVWS trial will be purchased, tested, configured and installed between now and December,” said Hart.
The Cape Town TVWS trial network will consist of a base station located near the Tygerburg Hospital in Cape Town, and ten schools (customer trial sites) located within a 10km radius of the base station.
“The focus of the Trial is motivated primarily by policy driven objectives such as ensuring zero interference with legitimate spectrum use by other parties,” said Hart.
Hart added that operational and performance aspects – which include bandwidth, real world speeds and latency – are secondary to policy, but may be discovered during the course of operating the TVWS Trial.