IDA explores regulation of "super Wi-Fi" technology

THE Government wants to regulate the use of a new "super Wi-Fi" technology as a new way to provide wireless broadband services in remote places and relieve the crunch on 3G mobile networks.

In a consultation paper launched on Monday, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said its the industry's feedback on a range of issues including the licensing mechanism for "super Wi-Fi" devices and spectrum bands access criteria.

This will ensure a regulatory framework that is "in line with international best practices and contextualised to the needs of Singapore's market and business environment", said IDA in a statement.

Super Wi-Fi - whose signals can cover distances of up to four times farther than Wi-Fi signals - was coined by the US Federal Communications Commission in 2010.

The broadband transmission is over unused television broadcasting airwaves called white spaces. Using white spaces, wireless broadband can be delivered in places where it was previously not possible, such as areas with too many trees, buildings or bodies of water that block or deflect signals. Singapore is one of the few countries in the world, alongside countries like the United States and Britain, at the forefront of exploring the use of white spaces.

"Super Wi-Fi" is undergoing trials at the Singapore Island Country Club, Singapore's port control centre in Changi and the National University of Singapore University Town. These efforts were announced last September by a local group comprising StarHub, Microsoft and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research unit Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R).