Connecting and empowering communities with TV White Space technology.

Reliable, convenient access to the internet is a crucial part of life and work in the modern world. But accessing isolated areas is challenging with technology such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Which is why Television White Spaces is so exciting.

Traditional TV runs on invisible bandwidths. Television White Spaces (TVWS) refers to the unused portions of spectrum found between the frequency bands allocated for broadcast Television. As a means of connecting people to the internet in South Africa, it is an important technology just waiting to be utilised. Unlike Wi-fi, which only reaches up to 100metres, TVWS can reach up to 10kms. Further, it can penetrate through man-made and natural obstacles, all of which is crucial when it comes to cost effective deployment. TVWS enables fixed wireless networks to provide affordable broadband services in hard-to-reach rural and township communities. It also offers wireless networks to enable applications for smart agriculture services, digital education, smart health, and smart government services.

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The Spectrum Switch, which facilitates the use of this technology, was developed in a collaboration between the Department of Science and Innovation, ICASA and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and there is currently one licensee of the technology. This innovation is available for use by companies in a variety of sectors.

The CSIR has also collaborated with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), the British High Commission to South Africa, and Seacom on a project to support youth and women owned ICT-based Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to become Television White Spaces (TVWS) network operators in rural and township communities across South Africa to supply:

  • Internet connectivity
  • WiFi hotspots

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TVWS program aims to not only help connect underserved communities but to improve digital literacy and the uptake of digital services and applications in those communities. It also aims to provide job opportunities for young people, women and persons with disabilities.

Industry Sectors

CSIR welcomes the telecommunication industry and SMME’s to get in touch.

  • Telecommunication
  • Remote communication
  • SMME’s
  • Call for expression of interest (EoI) Opportunity for an ICT Focused SMME Owned by Youth- Women and Persons with Disability
  • South Africa’s drive to improve rural internet connectivity has received a massive boost with the handover of 24 Television White Space (TVWS) gateway equipment worth over $120 000 by, an South Korea- based equipment manufacturer Innonet Co. Ltd.