TV White Space and the Viability of Long Range Internet

Hi guys and girls, sorry I hadn’t been writing anything for a while. I just moved to a new place, been settling down and get my work and social life in order. I’ve also been swamped with new projects, one worthy of note is a new technology that would be the future of the internet within the next 5 years, it’s called TV White Space (TVWS). I’m very glad to find out about it and excited to see how I can contribute and help make it happen in Southeast Asia.

Before I go into details, I’d love for you to think and input your personal opinion on having a globally free internet access, especially in undeveloped and developing countries. It’d be something cool for me to read. 🙂

WHAT IS TVWS?

Television companies are allowed to use unlicensed radio frequency range of 470Mhz to 698Mhz to broadcast television channels. However, not all channels are fully used at any given location, many channels are left empty. Those are called TV White Space (or TVWS), and there are lots of those to utilize.

Please note that other channel frequencies that your phone usually uses everyday (e.g: 900Mhz to 1800Mhz, which is GSM) for calling, texting are licensed and have to be bought by telecom companies (e.g: AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable). In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission usually do the auction, and the cost of most frequency range are in billions of dollars. That’s why owning a frequency

Fun facts: The lower the spectrum frequency, the longer range data can deliver, but the lower the bandwidth (amount of information) it can deliver. That’s why low frequency spectrums used by FM radio can only deliver voice broadcast. TVWS is the perfect middle ground that can deliver a sufficiently abundant bandwidth over long enough distance (10 kilometers, which is 6.23 miles). This type of signal can pass through walls, buildings, and even mountains. Therefore, it’s a great mix for cheaper internet within urban and especially rural areas.

Here’s a little visual demonstration:

REAL LIFE BENEFITS

There are quite a few regions that implemented TVWS. As far as I know, they are United States, Africa, South America, Singapore. So far, I’ve heard good things

  • Bring internet to the most hard to access areas in the world, providing cheap educational access for everyone, because of the reduced cost in setting up and maintaining infrastructure.
  • Having an open wifi system without complex cabling. Save those precious plants and trees. 🙂
  • Long range communication for government, military, and healthcare sectors.
  • High speed and free internet access on airplanes.

HOW IT WORKS

The sovereign government, telecom companies, and television companies can cooperate together and establish a database which updates available white spaces at a specific area 24/7 to utilize the unused channels in real time. This makes sure that the use of TVWS does not interfere with television signals.

Communication ministries like the FCC can regulate, and auction off those unused channels to telecom companies (which I do not recommend)

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