Almost a year after TV white spaces trials were launched in Limpopo, Microsoft South Africa today officially implemented the TV White Spaces pilot project at the University of Limpopo and in five schools in a move expected to offer endless possibilities towards making affordable broadband a basic utility for everyone in South Africa.
Microsoft South Africa worked in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the University of Limpopo, and networking firm Multisource, with regulatory support from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa. The pilot project is part of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative.
Located close to the University of Limpopo, the five high schools in Mankweng – Mountainview, Doasho, Mamabudusha, Mphetsebe and Ngwanalaka are enjoying the Limpopo TV White Spaces which aims to enable quality education for all through technology, helping to close the digital divide in Africa.
Because affordability of broadband remains a formidable barrier to universal access in many parts of rural South Africa, this pilot project aims to see more South Africans online, new opportunities for education, health care, commerce and the delivery of government services across the country.
Commenting on the move, Microsoft South Africa MD, Mteto Nyati said, “We need to enable our citizens to live, work and play on the global stage. Almost 60% of employees in a recent 21st century skills study said they developed most of the skills they use in their current jobs outside of school. Imagine if we could swing that around by giving them access to affordable cloud services, devices and broadband, as well as with teacher training programmes such as Partners in Learning, to equip our young learners with the skills they need to become the workforce of tomorrow.”
The Limpopo TV White Spaces pilot project is expected to help meet the government’s goal of providing low-cost broadband access to the majority of South Africans by 2020 in line with the country’s Broadband Policy and the National Development Plan. The TV White Spaces pilot project will ensure affordable, easy-to-deploy broadband technology and service projects.
Microsoft has similar TV White Spaces pilots in Kenya, Tanzania and, Ghana, and in other parts of the world like Singapore and the United Kingdom.