2Mbps broadband for R20-R50 per month: Microsoft

Microsoft SA is looking at delivering speeds of up to 2Mbps to five schools around the University of Limpopo, a spokesperson has told MyBroadband.

The company was answering questions MyBroadband posed to it following the official launch of its television white spaces (TVWS) pilot in Limpopo on Saturday (27 July 2013).

According to Microsoft, the pilot is a joint project between it, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the University of Limpopo, and local network builder Multisource.

The University of Limpopo will be used as a hub for the TV white spaces deployment, Microsoft said.

TV white spaces are frequencies in the broadcast TV spectrum that go unused in certain areas. In particular, Microsoft said it will be using spectrum in the 600MHz for its pilot network in Limpopo.

These relatively low frequencies used in broadcast TV have characteristics that are highly desirable for wireless communications. For example, they allow a larger area to be covered from a single base station and better penetrate through walls.

Questioned about potential pricing for the broadband service, Microsoft contradicted earlier reports that it would offer uncapped access for R20-R50 per month.

Microsoft said that while it is a bit premature to quote pricing without a defined service model, it believes that stating the goal of delivering a basic tier of broadband access at an average cost of R20-R50 per month is reasonable.

This “basic tier of broadband” would not be unlimited, however. The more bandwidth consumed, the higher the cost will be.

“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.

Headline image courtesy of White Space Technologies

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2Mbps broadband for R20-R50 per month: Microsoft