Lessons from Typhoon Haiyan: Improving Post-disaster Internet Connectivity

According to a www.futuregov.asia article, the Philippine government is using television frequencies to provide broadband connectivity. When Typhoon Haiyan hit almost a year ago, it knocked out communication and mobile coverage in Tacloban City. The government and Microsoft worked together to tap into unassigned TV frequencies (TV white space) to provide broadband coverage to first responders and victims.

There are four great things about this tool:

1.) Quick: When cell towers and traditional pieces of communication infrastructure have been wiped out, using TV white space is a faster tool to set up.

2) Cost-effective: According to the article, TV white space relies on using TV frequencies that are either unassigned or unused by broadcasters/licensees. This makes it inexpensive. This method also requires fewer access points because TV signals can travel far and penetrate walls and obstacles pretty well.

3) Wide coverage: According to the article, when the TV white space solution was set up in Palo, a municipality near Tacloban City, it provided coverage up to a range of five kilometers. This network was created with a small aperture terminal (a type of two-way satellite), three TV white space radios and two Wi-Fi routers. It provided immediate two-way voice and data wireless communications for anybody with a device (laptop, tablet, handset, etc.) and had up to five megabytes per second broadband connectivity. According to the article, this method could be adapted to share satellite signals to a range of 10 kilometers.

4) More people can benefit: As a direct result of the wide coverage TV white space provides, more people in more areas can benefit from it.

 

For the original article, click here: http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/2014/sep/24/4-ways-tv-whitespace-can-help-disaster-recovery-le/
For an article about Google using TV white space, click here: http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/15/5106218/google-database-api-brings-white-space-broadband-closer