By Emeka Aginam
Nigeria’s quest to take broadband to every home across the country regardless of location has started yielding the expected results as WaveTek Nigeria has signed a partnership agreement with Carlson Wireless Technologies US to develop the adoption of TV White Spaces to meet the growing demand for broadband coverage in Africa.
Although the deployment is not limited to Nigerian market, this development is expected to give fillip to Internet usage in the region by delivering high-speed, low-cost broadband access and penetration particularly to “last mile” customers in un-served and under-served areas.
Speaking about the project recently, the CEO of WaveTek Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ken Spann said, ‘’This agreement with Carlson is another firm step to assist Nigeria’s drive to bring Broadband to all areas of Nigeria, adding that, “Introducing Super Wi-Fi at this point in time is very significant for the region because it means that finally, Africans in every corner, be it the big cities, suburbs or hinterlands, can become global players by having unhindered access to the Internet. More importantly, is the issue of affordability as to the costs of access are lower when compared to current ace methods.”
Also speaking, James Carlson, CEO of Carlson explained, “We are excited to partner with WaveTek Nigeria on this ground-breaking initiative. This relationship symbolises a great opportunity for Carlson to register and significantly grow its presence in Nigeria, a vibrant and key market, and extend it to other parts of Africa in a short space of time.”
Greater broadband penetration, he said is expected to contribute significantly to the African economy. As contained in a report presented on behalf of the Minister of Communications, Ms. Mobola Johnson at the United States/Nigeria infrastructure conference in Washington DC last October .
The Minister said, “In the second quarter of 2012, the Telecommunication & Postal sector was the primary driver of growth of the Nigerian economy. The sector is the fourth highest contributor to the nation’s GDP (29.77%).”
Recognising that the availability of broadband is a vital component of global competition, the presentation also mentioned that connecting Nigerians and bridging the “Digital Divide” is also top FGN Priority.
Super Wi-Fi technology uses the TV channel frequency spectrum that were originally used by analogue TV, but which were freed up in the US by the digital switchover in 2009.
These channels, 8MHz blocks in the VHF and UHF ranges (54-790MHz), (otherwise known as TV whitespaces) are capable of carrying up to 20Mbps over a distance of up to 18 miles (30km). Multiple channels can be bonded together to create faster links.
The reason 802.22 white space connectivity is desirable is that unlike the traditional Wi-Fi, low-frequency VHF and UHF signals travel longer distances, cover a wider range with less infrastructure as well as overcome barriers caused by heavy foliage or topographical challenges.
These low-frequency signals are the reason that single, huge TV transmitters can broadcast a signal to millions of homes and why higher-frequency services, such as cellular radio, require broadcast towers every few miles.
Additionally, this technology is the first to use Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, simultaneously overcoming the existing scarcity of spectrum and other pervasive limitations of legacy wireless communication systems