Feedback from White Spaces Workshop

Duncan McLeod from TechCentral has reported on the Television White Spaces Spectrum workshop, hosted in Sandton on Wednesday by WAPA and APC.

The following is taken from his article, which you can read in full here:

US Internet giant Google is keen to invest in and support SA companies that want to build pilot wireless broadband networks using radio frequency spectrum currently reserved for television broadcasters. Neil Ahlsten, Google regional manager for new business development,  speaking at a television “white spaces” telecommunications conference in Sandton on Wednesday, says the company is “very interested” in forging partnerships with SA companies to launch trial networks.

White spaces are a hot-button topic in telecoms worldwide. Regulators in the US, Europe and elsewhere have proposed utilising unused spectrum between television channels to provide wireless broadband solutions. The lower frequencies in question are particularly well suited for delivering broadband in rural areas, and the technology is therefore seen as a potential way of bridging the “digital divide” between the connected and the unconnected. What’s particularly exciting about white-space spectrum is regulators are proposing opening it up in an unlicensed fashion, meaning anyone can use it, much like they can the spectrum around 2,4GHz, which is used for Wi-Fi networks.

The UK and the US are both running trial networks and Ahlsten says Google is keen to support local tests, both with financial and technical assistance. Ahlsten has previously worked on Google’s project in the US to take high-speed fibre connections into homes and businesses and regards white-space spectrum as a great way of connecting Africa. “SA is a very special market because it has highly trained, first-world engineers and businesspeople who are trying to solve problems for the rural areas as well,” Ahlsten says. “This is an area where SA really can be part of this first phase and export [technology solutions] to the rest of Africa and maybe even the rest of the world.”

Get involved!

Ayone interested in staying up to date on progress from this workshop, please contact WAPA to sign up for the TVWS-africa-discuss mailing list. 

Related reading:

Financial Mail, 13 October: Waiting for a wave

TechCentral, 12 October: How ‘white spaces’ could spark a tech revolution

Balancing Act, 7 October: Africa and TV White Spaces: The ghosts in the machine could provide additional spectrum at low cost

ITWeb, 7 October: Clash over TV white space

Computerworld, 6 October: South Africa to pilot Wi-Fi using TV white space

TechCentral, 4 October: ‘Sensing networks’ could ease spectrum scarcity’

TechCentral, 28 September: Enough dithering already

Many Possibilities, 27 September: Africa and Television White Spaces

TechCentral, 22 September: Song sings on spectrum and the value of TV white spaces


 TVWS-Africa Workshop Speakers  & Presentations

TVWS-Africa Workshop Press Release