ip.access, an independent small cell solution provider is happy to announce its participation in Project Belgrade, an initiative of the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions, Microsoft. The project successfully demonstrates affordable internet connectivity for the unconnected using TV white space (TVWS) spectrum.
The project explores the potential of cellular radio technology in TVWS as a more accessible and more affordable alternative to regular copper or fibre broadband.
Nick Johnson, CTO of ip.access, said: “The internet touches almost every aspect of modern lives. Yet, even in developed markets there are still significant numbers of people who are not connected to it, either due to limited coverage and connectivity in the area or limited funds to pay for such connectivity. Our project proves that cellular technology in TVWS is a cost-effective and high quality solution to these issues.”
The project was a collaborative effort to trial the TVWS approach by building and deploying a sizeable cellular network testbed in the city of Cambridge UK, running on TV white space frequencies. The trial extended to 5 Cambridge sites where residents, in all age brackets, typically didn’t have access to home broadband.
To support them Microsoft built an open-source TVWS database client, selecting ip.access’ E40 small cell to enable the TVWS spectrum to operate. As a consequence of the trial, some residents found employment, reconnected with friends and commenced using online services for the first time.
Commenting on the results of the project, Ben Ash, sales director at ip.access, said: “We’re dedicated to improving accessibility to the internet and creating solutions which will enable better, faster connectivity for internet users. We are delighted to have worked closely with Microsoft and that our E40 small cell technology has formed such a key component of this trial.”
The project has successfully proven that cellular network deployment for TVWS is a highly feasible alternative to Wi-Fi. Thanks to the affordability of small cells, the findings open up a whole host of use cases, from improved connectivity for unconnected people living in the developed world as well as providing internet access to remote areas where connectivity and coverage are inadequate.