Google announces white space trial in South Africa

A Google initiative will see ten educational facilities in Cape Town performing wireless broadband over white space networks in connection with connectivity for rural areas.

In a blog announcement, Google Africa described white spaces as “unused channels in the broadcast TV spectrum”.

HumanIPO reported last week white space may be the solution to connecting rural South Africa to the internet, but industry players were waiting on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for guidance.

“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,” explained Google Africa.

Google Africa said the service will be broadcasted from three base stations, which are located at the Faculty of Medicine at the Stellenbosch University and at Health Sciences in Tygerberg, Cape Town.

The ten schools who will be testing the technology will receive wireless broadband.

“During the trial, we will attempt to show that broadband can be offered over white spaces interfering with licensed spectrum holders. To prevent interference with other channels, the network uses Google’s spectrum database to determine white space availability,” said Google Africa.

To CSIR Meraka Institute will measure the spectrum and report the results back to ICASA and local broadcasters.

Google Africa said white space technology was “gaining momentum” and in the US it is already available for “licensed exempt users”, while the regulator in the UK in working on regulatory framework.

Posted in: Internet

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