Microsoft Provides Internet to Africa Using TV ‘White Spaces’


Urban centers across Africa no longer has any limitation accessing the world wide web, enabling a greater awareness of the news around and interactions amongst friends and family through email. 4AfrikaOn the other hand, outside of the city, it all vanishes.

Limpopo, a rural province in the northern part of South Africa, known as one of the poorest regions in the country. “There is just no connectivity whatsoever,” says Mahlo Mokgalong, a professor at the University of Limpopo, located outside the city of Polokwane.

“From the area where I am,” explains Mokgalong, “the nearest Internet café will be 30 kilometers (away) — there are even some people who travel 50 kilometers or so to get to the nearest Internet facility.”

This could all change, sooner than later.

Limpopo, selected by Microsoft for the latest trial in using white spaces, the unused channels in the broadcast TV spectrum, is focusing on bringing broadband with speeds of up to 2 megabytes per second to communities lacking.

This 12-month project looks to fully operate in October and will use the relatively new technology and solar-powered base stations to put all five secondary schools in the province online; located 10 kilometers from the university, which is considered the hub.

Mokgalong predicts that the pilot will be beneficial to both pupils and teachers.

“Their lives are going to be made easier,” he says. “Some of the schools in the area have a shortage in terms of materials,”adds the professor. “So it will definitely benefit the learners in those schools and expose them to computer usage.”

For more on this story, feel free to visit: CNN


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