In an effort to demonstrate the potential of unused frequencies in the TV broadcast spectrum, Google has started a test program which will using the “white spaces” to deliver wireless broadband in South African schools. The Internet giant has announced that it will use the unused spectrum to provide Internet access to 10 schools in the Cape Town area. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that wireless broadband can bring more “white space” without interfering with licensed spectrum.
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. During the trial, we will attempt to show that broadband can be offered over white spaces without interfering with licensed spectrum holders. To prevent interference with other channels, the network uses Google’s spectrum database to determine white space availability. To confirm results, the CSIR Meraka Institute will take spectrum measurements and frequently report back to ICASA and the local broadcasters.
“The ‘white space’ has the advantage of low frequency signals can travel long distances,” explained in the company blog posted by Mgwili-Fortune Sibanda, director of public policy for Google in South Africa.
“This technology is well suited to provide low-cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure and to extend coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas,” said the executive.
In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission has been working to free up spectrum for mobile operators, who complain that they lack sufficient band to meet market demand for data services.
However, television stations have resisted the idea of using unlicensed worried that allow others to use the “white space” spectrum so close that deal, could cause interference.
Spectrum for devices and mobile broadband can be allocated and shared more effectively in the U.S. too, Google believes. The company is applying to become a certified White Spaces Broadband Administrator in the U.S., and is in the middle of a trial with the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has been “actively working to unlock” the spectrum for a while, but it’s been slow to take off.
In U.S. presidential elections, Obama reelection has put ICT at the forefront within and outside the country. The president will continue with the policy of promoting innovation and the creation of an open Internet.