What is TV White Spaces (TVWS)?

  • TV White Spaces (TVWS) are the unused TV broadcast channels made available by the transition from analog to digital TV in 2010, reserved by the FCC for unlicensed use.
  • TVWS is an affordable technology alternative to fiber optic, satellite, mobile, microwave technologies , needing minimal infrastructure to extend broadband
  • These vacant TV channels are capable of delivering broadband signals via non-line-of-sight (NLOS) transmission as opposed to higher frequencies which require towers.
  • TVWS deliver reliable broadband connectivity in rugged, remote, and hard-to-reach areas.

Key benefits:

Reduced CAPEX
  1. Longer range → Lesser Concentrators
  2. Able to penetrate walls → Lesser Repeaters
  3. Variable data rates → Easy deployment in different environments
  4. Support large number of nodes → Lesser Concentrators
  5.  High data rates up to 54 Mbps → Future proof
  6. Cable free deployment → Eliminates trenching

Reduced OPEX

  • License Exempt → No recurring costs
  • Point-to-Multipoint architecture → Ease of maintenance

How is the TV Band utilization in India?

  • Unlike in the US and the UK, there is only ONE terrestrial TV broadcaster in India—the Doordarshan.
  • Doordarshan transmits only two channels (namely, DD1 and DD2) at any given location in the country.
  • These channels occupy either a bandwidth of 7MHz in the VHF band or a bandwidth of 8MHz in the UHF band.

The compelling reason to adopt TVWS Technology

  1. With an impending spectrum crunch, Telecoms are expected to increasingly look for the alternate solutions for the more efficient use of spectrum.
  2. Indian National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP) 2011 where policy intent for the utilization of TV white spaces was made.
  3. At least 12 out of the 15 Doordharsan channels (80%) are available

Background of TV White Space

  • The current fixed spectrum allocation scheme results in underutilization of frequency spectrum.
  • Actual spectrum utilization is only around 5% to 15%.
  • This opens a door for possible utilization of these unoccupied spectrums opportunistically.
  • The TVWS powers a system to deliver data, monitor electrical devices, operate mobile command centers, stream video from surveillance cameras and more.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the use of unlicensed TVWS spectrum.

  • In September 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved new rules for the use of unlicensed white space spectrum.
  • The Office of Communications (Ofcom) in UK followed suit one year later.
  • It has been touted as an untapped resource that has the potential to unleashing a myriad of applications and services, given its attractive propagation characteristics and relatively large frequency blocks.

Technology Status

  1. Promising wireless technology, TVWS “SuperWiFi”, uses location-aware devices and online databases to deliver low-cost broadband access and other forms of connectivity to consumers.
  2. Chipsets/Modules have been adopted and installed by Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP) in the United States, Singapore, India and Philippines.
  3. Achieved demonstrated broadband speeds of 10 Mbps over distance exceeding 10 km without line of sight requirements

We bridge the digital divide through TVWS Broadband Internet Access

The potential business models and services
Cellular Offload network

Cellular service providers could setup White Spaces access points on some of their existing towers to offload mobile data access onto this parallel network.

This will be cheap (unlicensed) spectrum to alleviate their severe spectrum crunch with the advent of smart phones.

Rural Connectivity

  • It is more economical and enhanced WiFi to provide rural connectivity.
  • Poles with SuperWiFi access points can be setup in rural areas and connected to the internet using a wired backhaul or to one another in a mesh topology.
  • Large internet pipe eliminating the need for trenching

Private wireless point-to-multipoint network & Metro area SuperWiFi hotspots

  • Opportunity for existing or new service providers to create wide-are hotspots for consumers of mobile broadband data.
  • A private point to multi-point wireless network can be established at lower cost for the smart city application, for public utilities, lift monitoring, flood monitoring, or traffic monitoring. Point-to-point cable replacement for Internet.

Smart Grid Applications

  • The traditional power grid is grossly inefficient and unable to foster the energy savings needed to confront the global warming threat.
  • Adding IT to the grid makes it possible to better direct the electricity flows toward where they are needed.
  • Integrate non-constant energy sources more effectively (renewable energies in particular) and reduce electric consumption without harming life standards

Maritime Network

  • Better coverage of network in the sea for a longer range. It is possible to achieve up to 6 km range in the sea using SuperWiFi.
  • Allows all ships at port to have internet and connectivity easily which traditionally relies on near port 3G or expensive satellite communications.

Digital Oil & Gas Field Communication Network

  1. TVWS networks enable oil and gas companies to reduce their overall costs significantly.
  2. Various other factors such as increasing demand for offshore oilfield communication solutions, increasing ICT expenditure.
  3. TVWS based technological growth are catalyzing the overall growth of the oilfield communications market globally

Forest and Large Area Surveillance

  • Forest Video Surveillance
  • Fire detection
  • Animal tracking
  • Geo-fencing
  • Live wildlife broadcasting in conjunction with TV Channels.