TV White Spaces Could Spur Rural Internet Deployment In South Africa

Unused television spectrum has been used in countries across the globe to deploy broadband internet access to rural regions. South Africa may be the next nation to use this strategy to deliver broadband access to underserved areas, reports South Africa’s Business Day.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA recently completed draft regulations that would allow the use of TV white spaces to be used for internet connectivity. Regulators in countries like the U.S., UK, Singapore, South Korea and Canada already have rules in place to allow the practice.

Globally, the demand for wireless capacity is outgrowing the availability of new spectrum to support the growth of infrastructure deployment. Unused television channel spectrum could provide the necessary availability to deploy broadband internet, say proponents.  

TV broadcast spectrum is particularly effective for rural broadband deployment because the low-frequency signals can travel further, and is well suited to deliver service to underserved, rural areas. Furthermore, such a technique is cost effective.

“In the last decade…governments and regulators around the world have embraced the concept of ‘spectrum commons’ as another way to bring citizens innovation on new wireless technologies,” Icasa CEO Pakamile Kayalethu Pongwana told Business Day. “The migration to digital TV from analog will also free up more spectrum to be used for high-speed wireless technologies.”

May 10, 2017

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