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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 19, 2013

Singapore Kicks Off Extensive TV White Spaces Pilots

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

The Singapore White Spaces Pilot Group (SWSPG) has unveiled its second wave of TV white spaces (TVWS) commercial pilot deployments in Singapore, with Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa Development Corporation, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and the Eurokars Group.

SWSPG, dedicated to converting unused TV broadcast frequency bands – so-called “white spaces”—into into premium wireless connectivity channels in Singapore, for both broadband and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

The exponential growth of wireless data traffic has created a strain on communications infrastructures in a world where spectrum resources are finite. TV white spaces open up a new set of frequency bands that offer attractive propagation attributes, such as the ability to travel over longer distances and penetrate more obstacles such as trees, hills and buildings than technologies using higher frequencies, including conventional Wi-Fi.

The commercial pilot efforts are being carried out primarily in public-private-partnership. One example is the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), which has deployed a TVWS network that provides Wi-Fi coverage over its sprawling property covering multiple golf courses and several buildings. The TVWS deployment has delivered wireless connectivity where other technologies had previously failed, allowing for enhanced services for the club members and the ability for SICC to trial new resource management systems which have the potential of achieving 45 percent savings on external lighting costs, with smart lights and the world’s first TVWS chip.

“The benefits of using TVWS technology are tremendous, be it to support ‘smart city’ infrastructure, to extend connectivity into previously challenging environments or to enable ubiquitous, reliable wireless connectivity that will enhance our lives,” said Tracy Hopkins, corporate vice president at Neul, SWSPG. “Alongside the commercial pilots, it is essential for the SWSPG and others to look at how this innovative technology really can make a difference in delivering a smarter, greener and safer environment for us all, the applications are only as big as our imaginations.”

SWSPG’s new commercial pilots are conducted under a test license from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and utilize a TVWS Geo-location Database developed specifically for Singapore by Microsoft (News - Alert), with advice and inputs from IDA. The pilots are wide-ranging in terms of applications; in the case of the Eurokars Group, Singapore’s flagship car dealership, it will use TVWS to cost effectively extend its IT network to a number of outlying buildings. This will be complemented with concierge services: test-drive vehicle tracking, customer scheduled service management and other customer value added services.

“I am proud to say that Singapore is one of the pioneers in TVWS research, and continues to be a trailblazer in the TVWS movement globally,” said Tan Geok Leng, executive director at the Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R) and Science and Engineering Research Council, A*STAR (News - Alert). “The successful pilots that we have seen in Singapore have set benchmarks in showcasing the potential of TVWS technology in delivering reliable and cost-efficient wireless broadband for multiple of commercial applications. With the new pilot projects, we hope to see TVWS being deployed in many other new and innovative applications.”

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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