My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How White Space Testing by Microsoft at Park Hall Primary and Infant School heralds 80 MBps Competition in Jamaica

Saturday, April 30, 2016

How White Space Testing by Microsoft at Park Hall Primary and Infant School heralds 80 MBps Competition in Jamaica

Fellow Jamaicans, we may soon have a New Telecom Provider in Jamaica to challenge Digicel and LIME.

This as testing work is currently being carried out by Microsoft at Park Hall Primary and Infant School in Trout Hall, Clarendon. What's special here is that the test is being done to provision the use of White Space Frequencies to deliver Internet services as shown below.


This video comes to us courtesy of the twitter account of PNP (People's National Party) Senator Julian Jay Robinson ‎@julianjay  as shown below.



Clearly, it demonstrates that it is possible to use White space Spectrum in Jamaica without DSO as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Norway to Switch Off FM Radio – How Efficient Digital Audio Broadcast mandated by @BCJamaica is coming to Jamaican Broadcasters”. 

So aside from this exciting video, what are White Space Frequencies?

White Space Frequencies Primer - UK is ahead and the world is yet to follow

White Space Frequencies are the unused guard band frequencies in-between NTSC (National Television System Committee) analog television frequencies and prevent cross interference between channels. This guardband is usually the 4 GHz block of frequency in-between the 6 GHz block of spectrum allocated for NTSC analog channels.


White Spaces can also refer to recently freed up spectrum that is made available when a country transition to DTV (Digital Terrestrial Television) or even from FM to Digital Radio as Norway plans to do in 2017 as reported in my blog article entitled “Norway to Switch Off FM Radio – How Efficient Digital Audio Broadcast mandated by @BCJamaica is coming to Jamaican Broadcasters”.

In February 2015 OfCom, Britain's Telecom Regulator approved the use of White Space Frequencies which corresponds to the block of unused spectrum located between TV Channels 61-69 (798-862MHz) as explained in my blog article entitled “OfCom approves White Spaces usage in Britain - Why Digital Switch Over in Jamaica is Necessary for Unlicensed White Space Frequencies”. 

As for the US of A, Broadcasters as of Friday April 29th 2016 have finally decided to submit to the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) auctioning their White Space spectrum as reported in the article “Feds say wireless auction off to a good start”, published April 29, 2016 by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News

So is Jamaica really planning to allow White Space Telecom Providers in Jamaica?

White Space Telecom in Jamaica - More Spectrum license options for Incumbents

It's a possibility, considering that Telecom Provider Digicel may soon be launching their 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) service in Jamaica on ITU (International Telecommunications Union) as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on Tuesday May 17th 2016. 

I know this as current testing of 4G LTE in Bahamas by Digicel Bermuda and CellOne is ongoing as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “How Digicel’s and CellOne LTE in Bermuda means 75 Mbps speeds coming to Jamaica”. 

As for the use and testing of White Space Frequencies, it proves what I've been saying in my blog article entitled “OfCom approves White Spaces usage in Britain - Why Digital Switch Over in Jamaica is Necessary for Unlicensed White Space Frequencies”; you don't need DSO (Digital Switch Over) for the use of license and unlicensed testing of white space Spectrum.

Albeit no official word has come from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, it is possible that if such testing is being undertaken by Microsoft in Jamaica, it may lead to our White Spaces spectrum being mapped. Very soon, the SMA (Spectrum Management Authority) may announce a round of auctions for White space Frequencies for Telecom Providers to come to Jamaica to provide High speed Broadband Services.

This would add to the twelve (12) spectrum licenses for MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) that exist in Jamaica as reported in my blog article entitled “@TheOURja MVNO Licenses – How Telecom Providers benefit and Why MVNO are a source of Product Innovation”  opening up Jamaica further to competition.

Already WhatsApp in January 2016 may have signed an agreement with FLOW Jamaica to provisioning their service on unlocked smartphones as described in my blog article entitled “How possible MVNO Telecom Provider heralds WhatsApp, FLOW Jamaica, Digicel, Huawei and Lasco partnership”. 

So more Telecom Provider options, especially using this very plentiful White Space spectrum, would be welcome!


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