NCC boss Umar Danbatta

A new technology – TV White Space – that has the capacity to extend broadband internet coverage especially to rural communities and other underserved communities was on Wednesday approved by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Executive Vice -Chairman at NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, conveyed the approval of the use of TV White Space for mass Internet coverage at a workshop organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria in Abuja.

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Represented by newly appointed Acting Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Austin Nwalune, Danbatta said that the government was eager for the use of TV White Space to increase broadband penetration in Nigeria.

TV White Space which is being championed by Microsoft and Google refers to unused broadcasting frequencies in the wireless spectrum.

According to Tech Republic, television networks leave gaps between channels for buffering purposes, and this space in the wireless spectrum is similar to what is used for 4G and so it can be used to deliver widespread broadband internet.

Nigeria has struggled in the last five years to reach a broadband penetration of 23 per cent. Given the paucity of cable broadband internet, much of the country’s broadband penetration has been achieved through mobile broadband, although many experts doubt the classification of such services as broadband because of poor speed.

About 3.9 billion around the world, reportedly, cannot afford fixed broadband internet access. Even in the United States with high broadband penetration, about 60 million people lack access to broadband internet.

This makes the use of TV White Spaces for broadband internet attractive and trials of the use of the new technology for Internet services has begun in several jurisdictions in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Danbatta said TV White Space presented a cheaper and quicker option for broadband coverage of Nigeria.

He said, “We have TV White Spaces abundant in Nigeria. It is an effective means of serving underserved communities. The communications minister is more eager than ATCON to see pervasive use of TV White Space in Nigeria. It is a cheaper way of making broadband available.”