Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation

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1 Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation Expression of Interest for a Market Sounding Exercise For the deployment of White Space Technology in Mauritius Introduction In line with the vision of the Government of Mauritius to reach a hundred percent Broadband Internet Penetration rate within the shortest possible time frame, the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation (MTCI) is exploring innovative technologies to connect a maximum number of households, schools and other public places with pervasive, affordable and easy to deploy broadband Internet connectivity. In this context, the MTCI is launching a market sounding exercise to gauge the interest of potential white space technology operators to offer broadband internet access through the white space technology. In fact, it is worth noting that, the Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting Switchover exercise has been successfully completed in Mauritius in June 2015 in accordance with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) deadline for African countries and consequently all analogue television broadcasting transmissions have been discontinued. This switchover exercise has created the right and conductive environment for the exploitation of white space technology in Mauritius. In this context, a new frequency plan has been finalized by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA), the national regulator, for an all-digital Page 1 of 6

2 terrestrial broadcasting transmission. This plan will be coordinated with Reunion Island before implementation in conformity with the provisions of the Geneva 2006 (GE06) Agreement. The transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television (DTT) and the implementation of the new frequency plan has freed up a significant amount of spectrum in the MHz band for new uses. Whilst there is a total of 40 channels, each 8 MHz wide, in this range, normally only a few are used by TV multiplexes at any given location. In other words, many channels are unused for DTT transmission at a given location. The channels that are not used by DTT at any given area are referred to as TV white spaces and can be used for the deployment of white space technology devices for the provision of broadband internet services with the condition that no harmful interference is caused to DTT reception. The MTCI has received several requests from both local and foreign operators for the deployment of TV white space technology in Mauritius. In order to gauge the interest of potential operators, this Ministry has decided that an International Expression of Interest (EOI) exercise be carried out for the deployment of this new technology on a pilot basis to test and evaluate it in the Mauritian context. Collaboration with local stakeholders The proposed model for white space technology deployment shall comprise collaboration or partnership with the Multi Carrier Mauritius Limited (MCML), the local DTT Multiplex Operator, which is the primary licensee of the UHF frequency TV band MHz and the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), the National Broadcaster, which is in the process of developing the right business model to offer value added services. Page 2 of 6

3 Methodology The operators selected after the EOI exercise will be required, in the first instance, to participate, jointly with MCML, in a feasibility study which shall be carried out in two phases. The first phase shall include the following: (i) (ii) (iii) A quantitative assessment, through software simulation, of TV white spaces in Mauritius to determine white space availability on a region wise basis while at the same time ensuring the protection of incumbent radio communication services in the UHF frequency band MHz. After the completion of the said assessment, the operator will be required to submit a comprehensive report, drawn up in collaboration with MCML, to the ICTA, detailing the results of the quantitative assessment of TV white spaces in Mauritius. Should the quantitative assessment be conclusive, the operator would then be required to apply for a temporary test license for frequency usage (RA45) and type approval of White Space Devices (WSD) prior to continuing with the second phase of the feasibility study. Subject to approval from the ICTA, the operator would then proceed with the second phase of technical feasibility study, which would consist of coexistence testing of TV White Space devices with DTT receivers in collaboration with MCML within a controlled environment. The objective is to identify interference on DTT reception, if any, and hence agree on specific interference mitigation schemes for their elimination. The coexistence testing shall be done between the approved WSDs and all DTT receivers available in the local market. In addition, the second phase should also focus on performance measurements of providing broadband connectivity through the white space technology.. Page 3 of 6

4 Note: 1. The ICTA has flagged certain technical issues which need to be taken into consideration while deploying TV White Space technology in Mauritius. These technical issues will be communicated and will have be addressed during the pilot testing which shall be conducted prior to the final deployment of the technology. 2. The cost of undertaking the above activities will have to be borne by the prospective white space technology operator. Expression of Interest The Expression of Interest should be brief and concise and include the following: (i) A profile of the entity/ firm willing to invest in the project along with audited financial statements for the last two years, if applicable. Its staffing and organisational structure; in case of associations between one or more entity/ firm, the names, addresses and profiles of the participating entities firms and nature of the association( e.g. joint venture, subcontract and the like). (ii) Details of experience of the entity/ firm on the participation in similar ventures including name of clients, project description, location, duration, involvement, value of capital outlay contribution, if any. (iii) Extent of financial contribution that the entity/ firm is willing to invest in terms of percentage contribution to the total cost of the project. (iv) Expectation of the entity/ firm from the Government of Mauritius in terms of its percentage contribution on the overall cost of the project. (v) Any other contribution, besides financial investment, to the project. Page 4 of 6

5 It is to be noted that data compiled on the ICT Sector by Statistics Mauritius and other institutions will be provided, upon request, to potential investors for their assessment of the business case of the project. Submission of EOI The EOI should be addressed to: The Chairperson, Departmental Tender Committee Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation Level 4, New Government Hose Port Louis Republic of Mauritius Fax No: (230) Interested entities/ firms should forward their Expression of Interest in two (2) copies and in sealed envelopes and should be deposited in the tender box or sent by registered mail/ courier so as to reach the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation by hours (local time) on Monday, 29 February 2016 at latest. The envelopes should be clearly marked Expression of Interest for the deployment of White Space Technology in Mauritius in the left hand corner. Please be informed that the market sounding exercise involves no element of supplier selection and involves no commitment from either side. Clarifications/Queries All clarification sought by and entity/ firm in respect of this Expression of Interest shall be addressed, at least 14 days before the deadline for submission of EOI in writing to: Page 5 of 6

6 The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation Level 4, New Government House Port Louis Republic of Mauritius Copy to The queries and replies thereto will then be placed on the following web site: without mentioning the name of the entity/ firm raising the queries. The Government of Mauritius will analyse the proposals received as a result of this Expression of Interest for market sounding exercise and will communicate to all applicants on the next step of the project. Date: 25 th January 2016 Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation Republic of Mauritius Page 6 of 6

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