Google taps 'white spaces' to provide wireless broadband to South African schools

In a move which will draw attention to the potential of unused frequencies in the broadcast TV spectrum, Internet search giant Google has recently announced the release of a six-month trial program which will provide wireless broadband to South African schools by tapping the `white spaces.'

With Google already having shown the potential for the deployment of the so-called `Super Wi-Fi' networks over white spaces spectrum in the US, the company is now trying to make use of the same technology for delivering Internet connectivity to ten schools in South Africa's Cape Town area.

With the key objective of Google's recently-launched trial being to demonstrate that wireless broadband provided over white spaces does not cause any interference to licensed spectrum, a report in The Verge has pointed out that the launch of the test network by Google marks the company's "most direct effort" to highlight that white spaces can potentially serve as an effective means to deliver speedier Internet connectivity to the developing world as well as other rural areas.

Noting that "white space has the advantage that low frequency signals can travel longer distances," Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda - Google South Africa's public policy manager - said in an official blog post that the technology is not only suitable for providing "low cost connectivity to rural communities" which have a poor telecom infrastructure, but also "for expanding coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas."