What is the current state of internet connectivity in the Philippines? Here are a few statistics from Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO):
*47% (percent) of cities and municipalities have broadband access
*45% (percent) of high school have internet access
*2% (percent) of elementary schools have internet access
*20% (percent) of households have personal computers (PCs) and most families cannot afford broadband connection
With these in mind, the Philippine government is considering utilizing unused Television channels or what is called White Space (TVWS) or ”Super Wi-Fi”. The plan is to do this within 3 years, connecting rural areas, schools and also for health, disaster migration, e-services and e-business.
“When you turn on your TV to these unused channels, the set displays ”white noise” resembling snow, with a hissing sound. They carry no useful information and contribute nothing to the government coffers,” ” Louis Napoleon C. Casambre Executive Director, DOST-ICTO, shared last Friday.
Engr. Louis Napoleon C. Casambre,DOST-ICTO Executive Director
Last year, TVWS was deployed in Quezon City’s science community, in the offices of government agencies such as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), DOST, ICTO, ASTI, Philvocs, Pagasa and selected public schools.
This year, the government is deploying the technology in Visayas and Mindanao’s public schools, tele-health and community centers. Specifically, it will be used in selected remote and unserved public schools as well as a fisheries project in Bohol.
Luzon follows next year. By 2015, TVWS should be deployed nationwide according to the DOST-ICTO roadmap.
Below are some additional information regarding TVWS or ‘Super WiFi’.
Q: What is TVWS?
A: Also known as White Space or white noise, TVWS, are unused TV channels which resemble as snow with a hissing sound in your TV. They serve as guard bands which are left unused intentionally to avoid interference between active TV channels.
Q: How much TVWS is available in the Philippines?
A: Between Metro Manila and Cebu, there are 18 unused channels, with 46% (percent) of spectrum wasted. Davao has 62% (percent) TVWS with 24 unused channels and the country’s rural areas have a total of 24-31 unused channels, or 62-80 percent TVWS.
Q: What are the advantages of using TVWS for internet connection?
A: TVWS is an ideal wireless data delivery medium for the Philippines, with its long distance propagation characteristics and the ability of its signals to travel over water and through several concrete walls or thick foliage. Currently available TVWS equipment can deliver up to 6 Mbps of data throughput at a maximum range of 10 kilometers. They can have indoor antennas ideal for the uneven terrain in the countryside