Television White Space (TVWS) refers to the part of the broadcasting spectrum that is not being used by incumbent broadcast services at particular times and in certain geographic areas, which can be used for the provision of wireless broadband services.
It is similar to Wi-Fi, but with expanded coverage that exceeds traditional Wi-Fi.
There has been considerable interest for using TVWS to deploy broadband services especially in rural areas. This is primarily due to the digital divide that exists in Nigeria as well as the existence of viable use cases that do not require legacy broadband services.
On that premise, the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) directed the NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) and NBC (National Broadcasting Commission) to set up an inter-agency committee that would be charged with developing the regulatory framework for the use of TVWS in Nigeria.
As part of both regulators’ usual practice of industry-wide consultation in carrying out their regulatory functions, stakeholders’ consultations were carried out and the draft framework was concluded.
BENEFITS OF TV WHITE SPACE DEPLOYMENT
An attractive feature of TVWS is that it uses lower frequencies compared to Wi-Fi and mobile networks, spanning from the 470 MHz to 790 MHz frequency bands, thus allowing the signal to travel much greater distances and penetrate permanent obstacles such as buildings and trees, as well as travel around terrain allowing non-line of sight (NLOS) connections.
This means the TVWS band performs well in the most rural service areas due to its inherent characteristics, which is shared with powerful analog TV stations. In addition, the infrastructure required for TVWS services is very simple without the need for new masts, resulting in TVWS being affordable to the common person in the community.
The Commission is in the process of concluding the framework on the use of TVWS so that the framework can be brought into use (in line with its Fourth Quarter target delivery in the NNBP (Nigeria National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025).