Africa has been facing challenges in providing broadband internet access to the continent’s population. More African countries have continued to build a robust ICT infrastructure by connecting to undersea fibre optic cables but the last mile connection has brought up its own share of problems. TV White Spaces however present a solution to this problem as can be seen by the various projects adopted by African governments in collaboration with ISPs and companies such as Google. A lot of advantages are offered by TV White Spaces, for instance signals can travel over long distances and in less developed areas, the technology puts the underutilized spectrum to good use as a low cost alternative for broadband.
17 Africa countries are among 25 which joined the TV White Spaces & Dynamic Spectrum Africa Forum in Dakar, Senegal last week to discuss the next step towards adopting this technology. The event focused on a few key themes that highlight the potential of the technology. In Dakar alone, there is more than 90 MHz available according to the Google spectrum. Already there have been trials in Kenya, Malawi, Singapore and UK where white spaces were demonstrably used to deliver broadband without interferng with licensed spectrum users. In South Africa, a partnership that includes the Wireless Access Providers’ Association, TENET and e-Schools Network provides broadband access to 10 schools in Cape Town through white spaces. Results from this trial have also demonstrated that TV White Spaces can be utilized without inteference to TV broadcast.
The South African regulator, ICASA will be using outcomes from the trial to draft possible rules for the use of white spaces. The efforts that have been made to demonstrate the potential of white spaces show that it’s a solution for enabling Internet access for more people in emerging markets including Africa.
Source: Google Africa Blog
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