The unlicensed TV broadcasting frequencies, also known as TV white spaces (TVWS), were originally used as a buffer to minimize interference in analog broadcasts. Since the TV channels went digital these frequencies were freed up and can potentially be utilized to provide cost-effective wireless broadband.
Why would we need more wireless broadband? Well, the rapid growth of data traffic through millions of mobile devices connecting to the web wirelessly is putting a strain on current network infrastructure, prompting a need for innovative use of spectrum to increase wireless broadband capacity.
In April 2012, the Singapore White Spaces Pilot Group (SWSPG) was formed to support Singapore’s efforts to adopt TVWS for consumer and business services and applications.
“With the momentum gained worldwide regarding the potential of TVWS, we are looking forward to more innovative use of the technologies,” said Tan Geok Leng, executive director of A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research. “We believe TVWS is the first step to better utilize valuable frequency spectrum in order to support the exponential growth of wireless adoption.” Researchers are already working on next-generation TVWS technology that will improve spectrum efficiency, scalability and quality of service.