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Google/Carlson Wireless Launch South African TV White Space Initiative

Carlson Wireless announced on March 25 the launch of a TV band white space network at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in Tygerburg, Cape Town, South Africa. The equipment was installed earlier this year and is part of a cooperative effort by Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa, CSIR Meraka, e-Schools Network, WAPA, Comsol Wireless Solutions, and Google.

Google is sponsoring the field trial and is using Spectrum Bridge's database solution to assign channels to the network from data provided by South Africa's telecom regulator ICASA. Carlson wireless and Neul provided the radios and software. Communication speeds ranging from 1 to 10 Mbps are available, depending on network load and location.

The TV White Space network will deliver broadband Internet service to 10 schools within a 10 km radius of the base stations. Each school will receive a dedicated 2.5 Mbps service via the network with failover to ADSL to prevent downtime during school hours.

You can monitor traffic on the network using this TENET e-Schools Network graph.

“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,” said Jim Carlson, president of Carlson Wireless. “We are overjoyed to participate in such a project, helping to provide schools with a fundamental service.”

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.”