Options for affordable rural broadband connectivity: a focus on TV White Space technology

Date
2016-07
Authors
Biney, Kwesi Assan
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Ashesi University College, published by Mot Juste
Abstract
There appears to be a coordinated effort the world over to achieve digital switch over (DSO) from analogue based to digital technology. Ghana signed the Geneva agreement which set 17th June 2015 as the deadline for the DSO. This switch over will create new spectrum opportunities for many wireless technologies due to the abundance of radio spectrum the switch over provides. This paper focuses on the opportunity for using White Spaces (TV frequencies allocated to a broadcasting service but not used locally) for internet connectivity in the rural and underserved areas of Ghana, using TV White Spaces in Koforidua as a case study. The paper investigates the challenges associated with lack of internet connectivity in rural Ghana and determines if the infrastructure necessary for the implementation of White Space technology in the rural areas was present and adequate. It also documents the user experience of Africa’s first commercial TV White Space network services in Koforidua, Ghana. A combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection approaches was used. Purposive and simple random sampling techniques were used in selection and administering of questionnaires. Lack of internet in the rural areas was found to be mainly due to perceived risk by the commercial network operators because of value for money considerations of existing technology options. Negative incentives for the common ISP to go rural included technical and geographic/landscape challenges. The relevant infrastructure necessary is still undeveloped in Ghana but various infrastructural projects are being undertaken by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) to bridge the infrastructure gap in these areas. Lastly, the user experience of Africa’s first commercial service network using TV White Spaces in Koforidua, Ghana were described and documented. Keywords: TV White Space, Digital switch over (DSO), Internet connectivity and Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) JEL classifications: O1, O32, O34, O38, O14, O15
Description
Keywords
TV white space, Ghana, GIFEC, digital switch over
Citation
Biney, K A (2016) Options for affordable rural broadband connectivity: a focus on TV White Space technology. Ashesi Economics Lectures Series Journal 2 (1): 27-36