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Industry News

Google and Carlson bring TV white space internet to South African schools

March 28, 2013
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Carlson Wireless announces the launch of the first TV white space (TVWS) trial in South Africa. Led by Google, the trial will test TVWS wireless broadband in ten schools across the Cape Town area. Carlson, the project’s equipment vendor, Google and other project partners will attempt to show that broadband can be offered over white spaces without interfering with licensed spectrum holders.

To prevent interference with other channels, the network utilizes Google’s spectrum database to determine white space availability. Carlson’s RuralConnect Broadband Solution, enabled by the Neul Horizon software, provides the communications backbone for the trial; outputting broadband Internet while interacting with the Google database to ensure proper channel assignment.

Moreover, TVWS offers the potential to improve Internet connectivity where it is most needed - in the developing world. TV White Spaces’ lower frequencies can travel longer distances, making the technology well suited to provide low cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure. It is also used for expanding coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas.

Jim Carlson, president of Carlson Wireless, stated, “‘This is a small example of TVWS spectrum overcoming a need that exists all over the world…providing connectivity to underserved areas is more than an interest to us, it’s specifically what got us into the game. We are overjoyed to participate in such a project, helping to provide schools with a fundamental service.”

As equipment vendor, Carlson was pleased to be involved with Google and other project partners since the trials’ preliminary research and network-engineering phase. Carlson, along with Neul, provided installation assistance and will continue to provide remote support throughout the trial.

Luke Mckend, Google South Africa country manager, commented, “We are pleased to be part of this exciting new development – the first of its kind in South Africa – and look forward to opening discussions with policy makers around a regulatory framework that will support the wider use of TVWS to deliver wireless broadband Internet across the country.”

Arno Hart, project manager at TENET, said, “This TVWS technology trial brings South Africa to the cutting edge of innovation in terms of improving Internet connectivity, and is a very positive step towards bringing many more South Africans online. This trial will also be used to inform the regulatory process in South Africa.”

 White Space technology is gaining momentum around the world, and Carlson Wireless has been at the forefront of the TVWS revolution. Carlson continues to play a key role in shaping the industry, regulations and rollout of TVWS technology. This is particularly true in the U.S., where Carlson’s RuralConnect TVWS Broadband Radio has been implemented and tested under an FCC experimental license. Carlson, Google and the project partners hope the results of the trial will drive similar regulatory developments in South Africa and other African countries. 

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