Google launches TV White Spaces trial in SA

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Google has announced the launch of a trial program in South Africa that will utilise unused portions of the television spectrum to deliver broadband internet access to ten schools based in the Cape Town area.

These unused areas of the TV spectrum, known as white spaces, allow low frequency signals to travel greater distances and will permit Google to “provide low cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure” as well as “expand…coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas.”

The test will broadcast from base stations located at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in Tygerberg in Cape Town to the ten schools in question, who will be receiving broadband internet access via the white spaces. The hope is that the technology proves viable, able to work without interfering with parts of the spectrum that are already in use.

The project will be monitored by the CSIR Meraka Institute, who will report back to local body ICASA and locally-situated broadcasters. Google has already trialled White Space technology in the US and there are efforts afoot with the UK regulator to create a regulatory framework for its use there. Google hopes that “the results of the trial will drive similar regulatory developments in South Africa and other African countries.”

Source: Google Africa blog

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