After Kenya and Tanzania, Microsoft’s latest white space broadband pilot is in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This is part of the company’s 4Afrika Initiative which aims to bring high-speed and affordable internet to Africa.
What is this White Space Technology?
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Simply put, white space internet is a method of providing wireless Internet access through unused TV frequencies. This is a relatively new technology which was given a go ahead in the US in 2008 and is now just being tested and implemented. Specialists say the technology can deliver network speeds faster than 3G or 4G broadband technology.
Some have called this Wi-Fi on steroids. Well, the technology is not necessarily Wi-Fi but the name might be because of the following factors:
- White space technology covers a wide area, to the range of miles, whist Wi-Fi signals can only reach few hundreds of meters.
- Currently Wi-Fi suffers from obstructions. Just going into the next room may bring down your network by two bars. White space wireless networks can travel seamlessly through walls, trees, and other obstructions.
- Even at long ranges, white space wireless networks can deliver network speeds much greater than current 3G or even 4G mobile broadband technologies. (At least that’s what they say)
Because TV frequencies can reach the remotest areas, white space internet is particularly beneficial for rural areas with low to zero mobile network coverage.
Earlier this year Google also targeted South Africa with the same technology. Though these projects are still trials the technology is currently delivering speeds of up to 2Mbps in the country’s schools.
As regards commercial viability, Microsoft is predicting that white space with connectivity of up to 4Mbps will cost between 20-50 rand ($2.04-$5.10) a month. Meanwhile the country’s regular broadband of 1Mbps costs ten times that much.
For more information you can watch the video below
If this technology is implemented successfully what is that going to mean to broadband providers?
17 thoughts on “Microsoft brings white space internet (Wi-Fi on steroids) to South Africa’s schools”
wow this is very interesting, what for Zimbabwe
Stop letting people steal elections so that sanctions can be removed… Then you can also get western companies investing in your country?
Every second comment from someone from zimbabe is about how the white anglo-american , imperialist (and all sorts of other words” must leave their country and leave them alone. And the other 50% wants handouts. I don’t get it. Zimbabwe ,make up your mind!
lol handouts are never a good thing, better to work for something and fully own and benefit from it
Talk about a shot of good news after the drama of elections… This indeed a game changer for us who involved in software development, and if well adopted can be a means of creating a more integrated and efficient economy. It could really open up opportunities in software development and cloud services, not to mention the rapid adoption of IT in general to marginalised communities.
We must somehow champion the adoption of this technology here in Zimbabwe, we desperately needed for government, communities and such special areas as education.
I’m excited indeed.
bring it also to zim
As regards commercial viability, Microsoft is predicting that white space with connectivity of up to 4Mbps will cost between 20-50 rand ($2.04-$5.10) a month…….until the government smells money to be had that is! Then the caps will be added and add-ons at so many rands, and peak time premiums, and, and, and all at an additional “small” extra cost per whatever.
spot on Scebbie
I think it is just to get you hooked before the price goes up ten fold.
What a plethora of opportunity – hopefully this real progress will not be derailed by greedy/cash strapped public sectors -can’t wait for it to come
its not about broadband providers but development. What we need is development and this sounds good
That sounds like a Uhf internet, which already exist in zim.
Thnk u white mn!
How different is this from UHF technology that Transmedia has been using to deliver internet for years?
Nothing new here we have been doing this foe a very long time via Transmedia !
The problem has always been funding and NOT technology !
2009 Refer to third comment on link below.
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