Bridging the broadband digital divide between rural and urban areas is of high priority for many of the government regulators. The divide arises because of the relatively low population density, high topographical barriers, and greater geographical distances. Reaching these areas with fixed line infrastructure (fiber) is capital intensive and time consuming.

TV White Space Communications is the most preferred wireless alternative for long distance communication. A single base station can reach households that are as far away as 10km – 30km depending on antenna height. Since it uses UHF spectrum, signal penetrates easily through vegetation, rains and terrains providing good quality of service (and improve customer retention). A single 8 MHz channel can provide a data rate of 30 Mbps which can be shared by about 15 users (2 Mbps bandwidth per user) simultaneously. As the number of users increase, additional base stations with directional antennas can be used or more frequencies can be assigned. Additional bandwidth per user can be configured by software. In the future, channel bonding/aggregation techniques will be used to increase the data speed beyond 30 Mbps or to increase the number of users that can be served by one base station. The time to put up the TV White Space network is also shorter compared to other options.

Compared to Wifi and Cellular, TV Whitespace is ideally suited for communication in rural areas for the following reasons

  • Lower capex to setup infrastructure (one base station per 300 sq km area)
  • The network can be installed and configured in as little as few hours
  • Delivers data at broadband speed (>2 Mbps)
  • Lower operational costs (easy to maintain)

A wireless alternative is a more viable choice. Table below compares the various wireless networks.

Basic

  • Upfront Capex for building network
  • Time to build the network
  • Spectrum or licensing Cost
  • Network downtime
  • Network Congestion
  • Data Speed
  • Network Connection

Wireless (WiFi)

  • High
  • Long
  • Free
  • Low
  • Very High
  • Medium
  • Shared

Satellite

  • Low
  • Short
  • High
  • High(Rains)
  • Low
  • Low(Uplink)
  • Shared

Cellular (4G)

  • High
  • Short
  • Very High
  • Low
  • High
  • High
  • Shared

Saankhya Labs has developed a Rural Broadband Infrastructure platform (base station and customer premises equipment) using the SDR chipsets (SL900x, SL100x). Saankhya’s base station platform (SLB802ODU) and CPE platform (SLC802ODU) can be leveraged by telecom OEMs to bring TV White Space products to market faster. The platform can be configured to support both point to point (for backhaul applications) and point to multipoint topologies (rural broadband).

To discuss about your rural broadband requirements or for evaluation platforms, please contact info[at]saankhyalabs[dot]com