Government reiterates commitment to television white space development

Accra� Mrs Ursula Owusu- Ekuful, Minister of Communications, has reiterated Government’s commitment to Television White Space (TVWS) development.

The TVWS refers to the unused TV channels between the active ones in the Very High Frequency (VHF) and UHF spectrum, which can also be deployed for broadband services.

She noted that in parallel to this digital migration, the utilisation of innovative solutions like TVWS would further enable efficient utilization of the scarce spectrum resource in providing commercial wireless services.

She said capitalising on the longer coverage ranges achievable with Ultra High Frequency (UHF) spectrum, TVWS could be used to provide wireless communication services to rural areas at a considerable lower cost of deployment.

She said the process of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting has resulted in the release of additional digital dividend through the sale of one block in the 800 Mega Hertz (MHz) band being used for 4G services.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful made these remarks in a speech read on her behalf at a day’s workshop on TVWS, organised by Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA), in collaboration with Internet Society (ISOC) Ghana.

The workshop under the theme: TV White Spaces- a catalyst towards a digital Ghana; was aimed at bringing together policy makers, regulators and academia to discuss the contribution TVWS towards advancing digital inclusion in Ghana.

Mrs Owusu -Ekuful pointed out that there was a framework on TVWS, which had been drafted and awaiting approval by the Board of the National Communications Authority (NCA).

She said once this was done, NCA would begin issuing licenses for the use of TVWS spectrum for wireless communication services in unconnected areas.

The Minister of Communications said the Authority had also decided to charge low spectrum fees for the TVWS spectrum, in a bid to ease licensing costs; and urged Ghanaian entrepreneurs to prepare adequately and take advantage of opportunities to be offered by NCA.

Mr Kalpak Gude, President of DSA, on the topic ‘Advocating for Dynamic and Shared Access to Spectrum, said Dynamic spectrum access moves the focus from spectrum scarcity to spectrum abundance, reducing the cost of broadband deployment.

He said DSA supports unlicensed and lightly licensed spectrum for 5G, including Wi-Fi, to lower the costs of network deployment for mobile operators and others.

Mr Gude said protection of incumbents moves the focus to the appropriate and reasonable sharing criteria that permits the efficient use of spectrum and allows spectrum policy efforts to move beyond zero-sum game discussions on spectrum allocation.

Mr Marcus Adomey, President of ISOC, Ghana, said the workshop provided an opportunity to engage in advocacy for more efficient and effective spectrum utilization for the facilitation of socio-economic development and the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in the deployment of broadband services to enhance digital inclusion.

He said with a penetration rate of 34.3 per cent, which was on the low, the forum would address the policy and regulatory challenges that need to be overcome for Ghanaians in unconnected areas to quickly enjoy the benefits of internet access with the complementary solution of TVWS.

Mr Adomey said ISOC supports and promotes the development of the internet as a global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people’s lives, and a force for good in society.

Source: Ghana News Agency