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News  17, Jun 2013

We know how the Man of Steel can get online in Singapore: Super Wi-Fi

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Man_Of_Steel_3GSuper Wi-Fi for super heroes? IDA starts public consultation on TV white spaces (TVWS) to bring high-speed connectivity to Singapore.

Caught the latest Superman movie? Starring the charming Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel, many questions have been thrown at this fictional character. Questions like: If Superman were indestructible like they say he is, and his body impervious, how the hell does he shave? There have been many answers, from Kryptonian razors to grinding his face on railway tracks. But here’s another question from us at e27: How would the Man of Steel get online in Singapore? Erm, through super Wi-Fi, of course.

The term “Super Wi-Fi” was coined by the US Federal Communications Commission back in 2010. Last September, ZDNet reported on how this sort of speedy connection could and will go commercial in Singapore, pointing out that there is an industry group called the “Singapore White Spaces Pilot Group” (SWSPG) which is made up of founding members Microsoft Singapore, StarHub and the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) who will deploy three commercial pilot programs on TV white spaces (TVWS) or known as Super Wi-Fi.

Well, it really isn’t just Wi-Fi. It’s a form of “wireless network running on unused or underused spectrum known as “white spaces”, according to an article published by Business Insider. And today, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) announced the start of a public consultation on the use of TVWS here in Singapore. This comes after news of IDA’s latest OneMap solution with new service, PopulationQuery which allows a more systematic way of using data, and will certainly mark clear efforts in trying to develop Singapore as a more connected, tech-savvier nation.

This availability of radio-frequency spectrum will help play a part in Singapore where there is a 3G-crunch. The advent of LTE connection has reduced this, but a large majority on this island nation who are still on 3G networks. IDA’s press release notes that the TVWS technology will “enable opportunistic use of under-utilized spectrum within the TV broadcast spectrum channels in a cost-effective manner.” This will also see better outdoor wireless coverage, better built penetration and a high-speed connection.

This definitely isn’t new, but Singapore stands as one of the few, alongside giants like the US, to explore the feasibility of this innovative use of spectrum resources. The public consultation will also allow IDA to better understand the industry’s needs and improve the given regulatory framework to make sure it is in line with international best practices. Moreover, they will also have to localize it to Singapore’s market and business environment.

Leong Keng Thai, director-general (telecoms and post) of IDA also shared, “This public consultation is important for us to better understand the market demand for TVWS technology and applications, industry’s needs and technology challenges, which will enable IDA to develop a regulatory framework that would facilitate the introduction of an innovative technology that would achieve greater spectrum optimization and the bringing about more innovative solutions and applications for consumers and business users.”

Featured Image Credit: Actions & Comics 

Elaine Huang

Elaine Huang

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

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