Director, Peter Lovelock spoke on the panel of “Opportunities from TVWS” in Philippines, 9 Jun 2014

This post appeared on Gov’t says roll-out of TV White Space to coincide with digital TV migration on June 16, 2014.

Despite the various obstacles that could impede or delay the widespread implementation of TV White Space in the country, the government is optimistic that the wireless technology could be rolled out simultaneously with country’s digital TV migration next year.

TV White Space refers to the vacant frequencies located between broadcast TV channels. It establishes connectivity that functions similar to Wi-Fi but is more effective in far-flung areas.

At a recent forum sponsored by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy-National University of Singapore and the Asian Institute of Management, Information and Communications Technology Office (ICT Office) chief Louis Casambre said the roll-out of TV White Space in the country is a go despite some regulatory and technical issues still hanging in the air.

“The benefits of TV White Space for the Philippines are tremendous. If we don’t implement it now, then when do we do it?” said Casambre, who placed the last part of 2015 as the critical phase of the project rollout.

Casambre the implementation will synchronize with the shift to digital TV starting next year in the UHF band. “With migration to digital TV, there will be no more white space or unused TV channels. Thus, TV White Space will have the spectrum need for the project’s full execution.”

It can be recalled that the shift to digital TV, which is expected to last for four years, has been approved by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) with the concurrence of Malacanang. Specifically, the Philippines will be migrating to the Japanese digital TV standard ISDB-T (integrated service digital broadcasting-terrestrial).

Casambre said the ICT Office is banking on the private sector to lead the adoption of TV White Space, also known as Super Wi-Fi, with the government only providing the regulatory support.

At the forum, Casambre agreed with the assertion of participants that TV White Space could be a game-changer since the spectrum its uses is free, unlike the telcos which need to pay fees for the radio frequencies that it use.

Proponents say in TV White Space, Wi-Fi devices can operate in television frequencies to provide Internet coverage to a wider area at potentially lower cost.

Casambre said there is a good reason to be optimistic since the Philippines is already leading the pack in the roll-out of the wireless technology, noting that the country has the most extensive pilot deployment of TV White Space in the region.

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