Microsoft has launched a pilot project in the rural Limpopo province of South Africa that aims to deliver high-speed and affordable broadband to underserved communities using so-called "white spaces" technology. The focus of the pilot will be to prove that TV white spaces can be used to meet the South African government's goals of providing low-cost access for a majority of South Africans by 2020.
The pilot is a joint effort between Microsoft, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the University of Limpopo and local network builder Multisource. It will use TV white spaces and solar-powered base stations to provide low-cost wireless broadband access to five secondary schools in remote parts of the Limpopo province. The project will use the University of Limpopo as a hub for a white space network deployment that will provide nearby schools in local communities with wireless connectivity. The project will also provide each of the five schools with Windows-based tablets, projectors, teacher laptops and training, education-related content, solar panels for device charging where there is no access to electricity, and other support.
The project was initiated as part of the Microsoft4Afrika Initiative, which aims to provide access, skills development and innovation opportunities to young people and entrepreneurs across the continent. Microsoft earlier started white space pilots in Kenya and Tanzania, which it said have proven that white spaces technology is a viable solution for high-speed access in rural areas, even for those not attached to the national power grid.
Source: Telecom Paper.