Unlicensed spectrum

Unlicensed spectrum refers to radio frequency bands that may be used without a licence.125 Many countries have allocated spectrum in the 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5 GHz bands for unlicensed use. The 2.4 GHz band, in particular, is popular for providing Wi-Fi connectivity within schools. Since users of unlicensed spectrum do not need to pay fees for assignments, the costs of building a network are lower than other wireless broadband options.

In South Africa, the Ulwazi E-Learning Partnership has connected schools using Motorola's wireless broadband access technology.126 The broadband network operates in the 5 GHz band, which is an unlicensed band in South Africa. The pilot project linked five schools in the Pretoria area with broadband connectivity, completing the deployment in just two days. There is a possibility that the project will be expanded nationwide.

125 However, licence-exempt equipment is not given protection against interference and must operate at low output levels, limiting the signal's range.
126 Motorola Case Study: Gauteng, South Africa, "Wireless Broadband Brings E-learning to South African Schools", available at http://www.motorola.com/staticfiles/Business/Solutions/Industry%20Solutions/Education/MOTOwi4/_Documents/static%20files/South-Africa%5B1%5D.pdf?localeId=33 .

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