oa The African Journal of Information and Communication - Case notes : considering possible regulatory approaches to television white spaces (TVWS) : a view from South Africa

Volume 2015 Number 14
  • ISSN : 2077-7205
  • E-ISSN: 2077-7213



South Africa is one of the countries in the SADC region carrying out research and tests of television white space (TVWS) technology. TVWS technology, and dynamic spectrum management generally, have the potential to increase significantly the usage of valuable spectrum, that is considered to be scarce, and hence reduce the perceived scarcity. In so doing, TVWS technology has the potential to facilitate greater coverage and penetration of broadband in South Africa. However, this requires a paradigm shift from the traditional manually approved spectrum licensing process, usually on an exclusive basis, to an automated, dynamic process, where spectrum is shared between many users, some of whom will be assigned a higher priority than others. This can be achieved using a geo-location database, which implements complex radio propagation modelling and assigns permissions to use spectrum according to rules specified by the regulator. This, however, requires a new regulatory approach to spectrum assignment. A multi-level use approach is proposed ranging from protected exclusive, through protected secondary, to unprotected licence-exempt. None of these uses may cause interference to a higher level.

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