Faster internet connection even for users in far-off areas in Visayas and Mindanao—this is the latest initiative of Globe Telecom in its commitment to perk up internet connection in the country. And what makes this effort unique is the application of TV white space frequency, which is a first in the local industry.

“The move would maximize available spectrum given rapid increases in data consumption amid growing smartphone penetration,” Globe said in a recent press release.

Already, pilot-testing is being conducted in some parts of the country like Bohol and Cebu. This effort is done in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its Information and Communications Technology Office. The end goal is for an “alternative wireless network” that will serve remote areas in central and southern Philippines, Globe added.

DOST Undersecretary Louis Casambre expressed the need to improve internet service in rural areas. And he saw how TV white space could enhance better broadband use especially by local government units, national agencies, health agencies and hospitals and especially rural educational institutions.

The traditional way of extending internet service to more customers is through building more cell sites. However, building cell sites proves to slow down the work than to hasten it, decried Emmanuel Estrada, Globe senior vice president for network technologies strategy. For instance, a single cell site could take 25 government permits before construction can begin and often requires some 8 months lead time.

Moreover, most rural areas in the country have a concentration of households and establishments that makes the deployment of broadband facilities more costly.

Thus, the faster alternative is to make use of “available spectrum (that) would enhance bandwidth capacities and allow our network to transmit enormous amount of data at faster speeds,” Estrada explained.

Globe finds the answer in the TV white space technology. It is seen as the perfect wireless data transmission medium for the country due to its “long distance propagation features.” Its signals can also travel over water and penetrate through thick foliage. In fact, the newest TV white space apparatus can transmit data to 10 megabits per second involving a maximum distance of 10 kilometers. Besides, it can also serve numerous users at any given time.

The increasing demand for wireless internet connection and the problems of network capacity make exploring the possibilities of “unallocated portions of the radio spectrum” a welcome development, said Estrada as indicated in the Globe press release.