back to article Google turns South African schools into White Spaces

Google has connected up ten Cape Town schools using unlicensed White Space radio spectrum, hoping to drive legislation permitting broader use of the technology in South Africa and the world. The deployment is billed as a technical trial, proving that database-controlled White Space radios can operate in the same band as TV …


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  1. VaalDonkie

    Google would be more successful here...

    ...if they stopped referring to it as WHITE space. Our country isn't exactly the biggest fan of that particular colour.

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: Google would be more successful here...

      Well it's a buzzword. People like buzzwords. :)

      1. VaalDonkie

        Re: Google would be more successful here...

        Our lexicon is of the Marxist-Leninist variety. Words like "inclusive", "community", "equitable", "uplifting", "empowering", etc. are good.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Google would be more successful here...

      I thought it was an unfortunate turn of phrase! Reminded me of that comedy sketch about the SA (possibly zim?) customs and immigration dept which had a sign on the door saying enter here and turn white.

      What kind of bandwidth are they getting out of white space transmissions? I realise anything is better than nothing, but 16mbps rings a bell, with contention that may be pretty tight between several schools if they want to do stuff like video conf etc. Good to see a trial though.

    4. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Google would be more successful here...

      More to the point, nice inflammatory headline, Reg. Is Apartheid a laughing matter in the Reg offices?

      1. frank ly

        @Frankee Llonnygog Re: Google would be more successful here...

        Too soon?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google would be more successful here...

        "Is Apartheid a laughing matter in the Reg offices?" - I havn't seen any humorous Israeli headlines lately?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google would be more successful here...

          That's because Israelis are about as funny as gangrene.

          Seriously. Go there and see for yourself.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google would be more successful here...

          "humorous Israeli headlines"

          That would be hard to produce indeed. I saw an interview in the USA where Netanyahu called Israel "European", some humor there, but. Then a "film" by some Norwegian where Israelis called each other Nazi on the street. Some humor there or not. Anonymous, as being fed up being called a Nazi, worried and not impressed with the effort for peace by the Israeli government in Europe???.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google would be more successful here...

      I think you are forgetting which customers actually matter to them...I'll give you a clue - not the ones that like to put petrol filled tyres round necks...

    6. Mikel

      Oh god I hate to be that one

      But if nobody else will do it I must bite the bullet: white is not a colour. It's a shade.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Oh god I hate to be that one

        of pale? :-)

  2. Christian Berger

    Such things are done by many people

    For example there's the Freifunk movement which tries to bring Internet to areas previously not catered for.

    Actually plain WLAN is quite suitable for such projects if you can work with small cells or meshed networks. You can even move to 5.6 GHz and directional antennas for "back haul" links.

    The great advantage of WLAN is, that you need no special client equipment.

  3. Mage Silver badge


    Trail it in a place where people are easily bribed and viewer complaints will be ignored.

    You are scum Google for foisting this on people and exploiting Africans. it is PROVEN that so called White Space is a myth and we know the devices will be misused.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Grrr

      Well if we are going to start testing something with unknown effects on the population then where better to start than District 9, whoops, I mean SA schools...

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Grrr

        There is ZERO need for this technology. But for Google it's better than their Illegal deliberate WiFi Slurp. One end at least of every so called "White Space" deployment has to periodically report where it is and get channel to use from the Database.

        Of course Google is offering to run the Database for free. Can't you see that so called "White Space" Radio is simply a corporate ploy to legitimately "spy" on Consumers? It's 100% proven years ago that that it will interfere with some users. Databases and Reception monitoring are not accurate enough.

        Also the capacity and speed is actually poor compared with systems running at more than 1GHz. Try proposing this on 3G or 4G or GSM "White Space" channels and see how far you get. The fact is FCC & Ofcom care about phone operators and don't much care about protection of Spectrum for Broadcast Reception users, because Mobile Operators raise them more money.

        The allegedly unused TV spectrum is no more unused that a Mobile Phone Channel you don't see used. Look up "Hidden Transmitter Syndrome"

        Consider people in Fringe Reception or blocked from "local" TV transmitter by a local building, trees or hill and receiving from a more distant Transmitter. Google's Database won't be good enough to consider it.

        Also it has been made HARDER in most countries for viewers to complain about Interference and on Digital TV it's not obvious till it pixelates or freezes (the Digital Cliff).

        The ONLY people supporting this are people that either know nothing about RF systems or deliberately dishonest Corporates or Bean Counters in the Regulators.

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Grrr

        But we know exactly how well this works. It interferes with TV for some viewers.

  4. Mikel

    Google H8

    Had to be somebody hating on Google even for this in here.

  5. Mondo the Magnificent
    Thumb Up

    S.A: Put your clocks back...

    I've recently returned to S.A. after 12 years of working in the U.S. and the U.K.

    IT in education isn't exactly embraced at government level here; they can't even deliver textbooks* to students in government schools, never mind roll out any form of IT infrastructure for education

    Bear in mind that most South Africans do embrace technology at a personal level, but the bottom line is that the government cannot deliver the most basic services to the majority of South Africans.

    Rest assured, Internet connectivity to rural and poor areas is not a priority either, most would rather see houses, water, electricity, drainage and asphalt appear in their areas, opposed to a technology that only benefits the "privileged" irrespective of their race.

    Kudos to Google for implementing an infrastructure that will benefit the next generation of South African scholars.

    Sadly in 3rd world nations with 1st world ambitions, we depend on NGOs to make a difference in areas that are bottom of the pecking order when it comes to development

    *The Limpopo province textbook scandal in 2012 when organisations contracted to deliver textbooks to Limpopo schools found it easier to dump them in rivers and on rural open ground opposed to delivering them to the schools that need(ed) them

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: S.A: Put your clocks back...

      So that'll be a big change form the UK and US then?

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: S.A: Put your clocks back...

      This isn't about helping SA IT or Education but Exploiting SA to make the system more credible for European & US adoption.

      Google is doing this to help Google. There are better cheaper ways to help SA Education. Don't be conned.

      1. Spearchucker Jones

        Re: S.A: Put your clocks back...

        It's (IMO) a crime to let the Google data slurpy-hoover anywhere near kids.

        1. Fatman

          Re: S.A: Put your clocks back...

          Yes, someone, please think of the children!!!!

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