The Nigerian Communications Commission on Wednesday gave its nod to the use of a new technology – TV White Space – that has the capacity to extend broadband internet coverage especially to rural communities and other underserved communities.
Executive Vice -Chairman at NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, conveyed the approval of the use of TV White Space for mass Internet coverage at a workshop organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria in Abuja.
Danbatta who was represented by newly appointed Acting Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Mr Austin Nwalune, said that the government was eager for the use of TV White Space to increase broadband penetration in Nigeria.
TV White Space which is being championed by Microsoft and Google refers to unused broadcasting frequencies in the wireless spectrum.
According to Tech Republic, television networks leave gaps between channels for buffering purposes, and this space in the wireless spectrum is similar to what is used for 4G and so it can be used to deliver widespread broadband internet.
Nigeria has struggled in the last five years to reach a broadband penetration of 23 per cent. Given the paucity of cable broadband internet, much of the country’s broadband penetration has been achieved through mobile broadband, although many experts doubt the classification of such services as broadband because of poor speed.
About 3.9 billion around the world, reportedly, cannot afford fixed broadband internet access. Even in the United States with high broadband penetration, about 60 million people lack access to broadband internet.
This makes the use of TV White Spaces for broadband internet attractive and trials of the use of the new technology for Internet services has begun in several jurisdictions in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Danbatta said TV White Space presented a cheaper and quicker option for broadband coverage of Nigeria.
He said, “We have TV White Spaces abundant in Nigeria. It is an effective means of serving underserved communities. The communications minister is more eager than ATCON to see pervasive use of TV White Space in Nigeria. It is a cheaper way of making broadband available.”
Speaking at the event, President of ATCON, Mr Olusola Teniola, said the association was at the vanguard of advocacy for deploying TV White Space for broadband Internet service because of the benefits to the populace.
Teniola who was represented at the event by the Vice- President of the association, Mr Ikechukwu Nnamani, said the technology was a veritable tool to serve communities that were likely to remain un-served.
President of Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, Kalpak Gude, said TV White Space was not only important for Nigeria but also for everywhere else because of broadband gaps across the world.
He lauded Microsoft for championing the technology, adding that it was a veritable tool for resolving broadband challenges across the world.