R20/month for uncapped wireless broadband

Microsoft thinks it will be able to offer uncapped broadband to South Africans in Limpopo for between R20 and R50 per month using television white spaces (TVWS), according to a report on telecommunications blog, TechCentral.

The software giant held a press briefing at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg today (26 July 2013), where it told media it would reveal information on its TV white spaces trial that would be under embargo until 12:00 tomorrow.

According to TechCentral, five schools in the area will be connected as part of the trial, and pupils and teachers at these schools will receive Windows-based tablets and training materials as part of the programme.

The solar-powered base station will used standard Wi-Fi technology and will have a radius of 30km, TechCentral reported.

News of the TVWS trial emerged in May 2013 when the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research revealed that it wanted to test the technology in a rural South African environment.

TVWS are frequencies in the broadcast TV spectrum that go unused in certain areas. These frequencies have characteristics that are highly desirable for wireless communications, offering the potential to improve Internet connectivity where they are most needed in the developing world.

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

Asked about the news report, a Microsoft spokesperson did not provide comment, but reiterated that the information is under embargo until 12:00 on Saturday, when the official event will be held in Limpopo.

Headline image courtesy of White Space Technologies

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R20/month for uncapped wireless broadband