Google and Others Starts a TV White Space Trial in South Africa

Google with the support of South Africa’s communication regulator, ICASA, and a group of partners is setting up a TV White Spaces (TVWS) trial for ten schools in the Western Cape region over a six month period. The trial partners include TENET, CSIR Meraka, e-Schools Network, WAPA, Comsol Wireless Solutions, and Google.

Through the trial, Google and the partners looks to demonstrate that TVWS can be used to deliver affordable broadband and Internet services without interfering with TV reception while also increasing awareness of the potential for the technology in South Africa and across Africa.

During the trial, the partners will regularly update ICASA, Sentech, the Joint Spectrum Advisory Group, broadcasters and other constituents on trial outcomes, including spectrum measurements and reported interference.

The TVWS network, consisting of multiple base stations located at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in Tygerburg, Cape Town, will deliver broadband Internet service to ten schools within a 10 kilometer radius. The ten schools have been pre-selected based on proximity to the base station, local IT and network support, and other connectivity requirements.

Each school will receive dedicated 2.5 Mbps service with failover to ADSL in order to prevent downtime during school hours.

Through the trial, the partners look to establish whether interference is caused. An interference will be reported by TV viewers through their broadcasters who will then report back to the partners.

The network will use a local version of Google’s spectrum database




Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (

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