Google today launched a trial of a wireless broadband over a white space network in ten schools in Cape Town, South Africa in a move to utilise unused frequencies in the broadcast TV spectrum and to improve internet connectivity in the country.
According to Google, “The service will be broadcast from three base stations located at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in Tygerberg, Cape Town. Ten schools in the Cape Town area will receive wireless broadband to test the technology.
Google wants to show that broadband can be offered over white spaces without interfering with already established spectrum holders already. The firm will also use its spectrum database to identify white space availability.
“White space has the advantage that low frequency signals can travel longer distances. The technology is well suited to provide low cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure, and for expanding coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas, ” said Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Public Policy Manager, Google South Africa in a blog post.
The trials follow a workshop Google had in Johannesburg with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa , the CSIR Meraka Institute, Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa, e-Schools Network, the Wireless Access Providers’ Association, Comsol Wireless Solutions, Carlson Wireless, and Neul.
“White Space technology is gaining momentum around the world. In the US, it is already available for licensed exempt uses. In the UK, regulator Ofcom is working on a model regulatory framework based on a licence-exempt or ‘managed access’ use of television white spaces spectrum. We hope the results of the trial will drive similar regulatory developments in South Africa and other African countries,” said Mgwili-Sibanda.