Television white spaces (TVWS) is seen as the next frontier when it comes to broadband, and Microsoft is one of the companies on the African continent making use of the gaps in between traditional terrestrial channels, launching a number of TVWS initiatives across the continent as part of its 4Afrika campaign.
Last week, Microsoft launched the first commercial TVWS service network in Ghana which will give students a cheap way of accessing the internet – TVWS uses the same part of the spectrum as analogue TV to deliver wireless broadband internet.
A pilot project went underway in May last year, and the new commercial TVWS offering stems from a number of tests and tweaks conducted by the tech firm, working in conjunction with Spectra Wireless to make the TV white space technology possible in Ghana.
“High speed broadband offers students and teachers a way to access learning resources from all over the world, equalising the divide between developed and developing nations. While the initial pilot project in Ghana offered wireless broadband to universities, this new commercial service allows students to have their own internet bundles, determine their own usage and purchase an internet-enabled device for anytime, anywhere access and enhanced productivity,” said Fernando de Sousa, general manager Africa Initiatives at Microsoft, in a press statement.
Microsoft has also made progress with TVWS in South Africa – in June last year the company helped five schools in rural Limpopo to get TVWS broadband connections. Each school was provided with a TVWS transceiver, which linked the schools with a broadband node at the University of Limpopo.
Microsoft explained that the students in Ghana will be able to purchase high speed internet bundles, use apps like Microsoft Office 365, and apply for zero-interest loans in partnership with UT Bank to purchase internet-enabled Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell or HP devices.
“We are breaking away from the standard way of selling Internet services in Africa. Everyone wants and needs access to the Internet, but there are very few, if any, reliable, unlimited and affordable solutions for the masses. Our complete djungleEd service for the tertiary education sector provides just that, and together with the application bundles and affordable devices we offer a complete technology upgrade to participating institutions. This service will transform education in Africa,” said Sam Darko, country leader of Spectra Wireless.
[Source – Microsoft, Image – CC Sarah Reid]