TV White Spaces broadband trial in South Africa

Google, the Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA) and partners have announced the launch today of a TV White Spaces (TVWS) broadband trial involving ten schools in the Cape Town region.

Television White Spaces (TVWS) are vacant frequencies in the broadcast TV spectrum and have characteristics that are highly desirable for wireless communications, offering the potential to improve Internet connectivity where they are most needed in the developing world.

The advantage of low frequency white spaces spectrum is their ability to pass through obstacles and travel longer distances.

This makes the technology well suited not only for expanding coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas, but also for providing low cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure.

“This TVWS technology trial brings South Africa to the cutting edge of innovation in terms of improving internet connectivity and is a very positive step towards bringing many more South Africans online,” said project manager Arno Hart.

“This trial will also be used to inform the regulatory process in South Africa,” said Hart.

The trial involves broadcasting wireless services from three base stations located on top of Stellenbosch University Medical School to ten schools in the Cape Town region.

The aim of the trial is to demonstrate that broadband can be offered over white spaces without interfering with licensed spectrum holders.

The network will use Google’s spectrum database to determine TVWS availability, with CSIR monitoring for interference and reporting results to ICASA and local broadcasters.

WAPA has sourced local vendors to deploy the network and WAPA member Comsol Wireless Solutions is responsible for the installation, configuration and maintenance of the project.

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TV White Spaces broadband trial in South Africa