Phl to test TV White Space technology in rural areas
Tam Noda (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2013 - 4:51pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government plans to conduct pilot tests of a new wireless data communications standard called TV White Space (TVWS) technologies.

Led by the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO), pilot tests of broadband connectivity using TVWS are scheduled in selected remote and unserved public schools in the province of Bohol.

TVWS refer to unutilized television frequencies in the VHF and UHF bands.

"TVWS is an ideal wireless data delivery medium for the Philippines, with its long distance propagation characteristics and the ability of its signals to travel over water and through thick foliage, we are hopeful that this will be the technology to bring connectivity to rural areas and bridge the digital divide," said Louis Casambre, executive director of ICTO.

Currently available TVWS equipment can deliver up to 6 Mbps of data throughput at a maximum range of 10 kilometers. TVWS’ long range means that less base stations are required to provide coverage for a given area compared to existing wireless technologies, making it a cost effective means of broadband data delivery.

Aside from its long range propagation characteristics, TVWS signals can literally pass through several concrete walls as well as thick foliage, this means that customer premise equipment or CPE’s can have indoor antennas also making it ideal for the uneven terrain in the countryside.

Another pilot application included in the pilot tests is providing connectivity for the Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries or Ecofish project in Talibon and Tubigon, Bohol for reef and fishing vessel monitoring.

DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo said other than providing Internet access to Rural Areas, TVWS technologies can also be utilized to support government initiatives requiring data connectivity.

"The technology can be used in such sensors used by project NOAH for disaster mitigation, thin clients for education currently being developed by ICTO for DepEd through the Cloud Top project, as well as for tele-health initiatives being done by the UP TeleHealth Center," Montejo said.

DOST-ICTO announced that after consultations with stakeholders from the private sector, technology and spectrum regulatory experts from here and abroad, they now a have a clear idea on best practices and issues that need to be addressed prior to the adoption of TVWS technologies.

"Right now TVWS is still very much in the experimental phase both in terms of technology as well as the policy regime, we plan to maintain constant consultation with various stakeholders during the process, particularly that of encumbent users of the spectrum, we still have a lot to do, but we are confident that we can make this happen and are excited about what TV White Spaces can do for the Philippines," Casambre said.

In 2010 The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the use of TVWS for data communications.

Similarly, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have issued standards for the development of TVWS devices for wireless regional access networks, under IEEE802.22, similar to standards used for wireless local area networks or WiFi also known as IEEE802.11 and its variants. 

BOHOL CLOUD TOP ECOSYSTEMS IMPROVED FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS LOUIS CASAMBRE MONTEJO RURAL AREAS SECRETARY MARIO G TVWS
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