Cheap wireless broadband project up and running: Microsoft

A joint broadband project in Limpopo using TV white spaces technology is up and running, according to Microsoft SA boss

By - April 22, 2014
TV White Spaces

The pilot project to roll out affordable wireless broadband to schools around the University of Limpopo is up and running, Microsoft SA boss Mteto Nyati has told MyBroadband.

Though the official launch is only expected to happen in the next two months, Nyati said that a number of schools that form part of the project have already been connected.

A joint project between Microsoft, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the University of Limpopo, and local network builder, Multisource, this wireless broadband initiative is also a pilot for the use of TV white spaces (TVWS) technology.

In simple terms, this means it uses frequency bands allocated by television channels which are not in use in the area in Limpopo where the broadband project has been rolled out.

When Microsoft launched the project in July 2013, it said that it wanted it to offer a basic broadband service from R20-R50 per month, bringing speeds of up to 2 Megabits per second.

Though Microsoft said it was a bit premature to quote pricing without a defined service model, it added that it believed it could deliver a cheap, basic capped service.

However, the costs would increase as users consume more bandwidth.

“The key point here is that the cost of bandwidth will be significantly lower than other alternatives, and that white spaces creates opportunities to deliver an affordable tier of broadband access to consumers,” Microsoft said.

News of this TVWS trial emerged in May 2013 when the CSIR revealed that it wanted to test the technology in a rural South African environment.

A similar TVWS trial from WAPA, Google, TENET, e-Schools Network, and Meraka/CSIR was launched in Cape Town and showed promising results.

More on TV white spaces in South Africa

2Mbps broadband for R20-R50 per month: Microsoft

Microsoft, CSIR TV White Spaces project

Microsoft and CSIR TVWS broadband trial

TV white spaces broadband trial: good news for SA

Headline image courtesy of White Space Technologies

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