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CSIR spectrum management technology secures international recognition

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A CSIR-developed dynamic spectrum management tool that makes it possible to efficiently allocate the amount of usable spectrum has received Ofcom certification. Ofcom is the independent communications regulator and competition authority for UK communications industries.

Contact Person

Tendani Tsedu

+27 (0) 12 841 3417

mtsedu@csir.co.za

A CSIR-developed dynamic spectrum management tool that makes it possible to efficiently allocate the amount of usable spectrum has received Ofcom certification. Ofcom is the independent communications regulator and competition authority for UK communications industries.

Spectrum is the medium over which all wireless communications devices (televisions, mobile phones, tablets, radios, microphones and more) communicate. Television white spaces (TVWS) are the unused spectrum channels in the TV broadcasting frequencies. The CSIR has developed a tool that identifies and makes use of TVWS channels for broadband services without generating interference with adjacent primary licensed services.

The certification of the CSIR-developed white space spectrum technology entailed several phases of development and an extensive qualifications process by Ofcom. This puts the CSIR in the global ICT research, development and innovation (RD&I) roadmap and the CSIR’s geo-location spectrum database can now be licensed by South African industry players for the commercial provision of TVWS services in the UK. Furthermore, TVWS original equipment manufacturers can now connect to the CSIR-developed geo-location spectrum database and get spectrum allocations to provide wireless internet services through the UK Ofcom portal. The Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is working on a proposal for enacting TVWS regulations in South Africa and allowing commercial TVWS operations. The CSIR will then be able to license its spectrum database technology for commercial operation to industrial partners in South Africa.

The CSIR-developed spectrum database was one of seven global spectrum databases that were certified as part of the same UK Ofcom process. The certification process also resulted in the development of several technology and regulatory outcomes in the field of dynamic spectrum access, which will be taken up by global standards organisations for ICT and future wireless network standards. The vast amount of research and development outcomes will also allow the CSIR to strengthen its relationship with government regulatory and industrial partners to strengthen the national research and capacity in collaboration with ICASA. Based on this experience, the CSIR aims to contribute to global standards in future wireless and ICT technologies, as well as continue enabling the emergence of affordable wireless connectivity and the internet service industry sector in South Africa.