Microsoft Uses ‘Unused Spectrum’ to Bless African Students with High Speed Internet
Microsoft and Spectra Wireless are providing Ghana with first network that will use TV white spaces.
Spectra Wireless is a subsidiary of Spectra link services which has been endeavoring to promote broadband wireless networks using unlicensed spectrum. The company is Africa’s first commercial network which will provide such a service — a service that is meant to provide high speed Internet and special aid to students and educational institutions.
The initiative will surely eliminate the division between the facilities for students of developed countries and those from under-developed, in the pursuit of knowledge. “Research by the Wi-Fi Alliance in the United States has revealed that 90 per cent of students view access to Wi-Fi as critical to their success,” says Frank McCosker, General Manager of Affordable Access and Smart Financing at Microsoft 4Afrika.
The service is named as djungleEd. It will enable university students to get interest-free loans and purchase Internet-enabled devices ranging from Lenovo, Dell and Hp.
TV white spaces, often termed as buffer channels, are unused channels located between Active channels. The real use of these channels is to prevent broadcasting interference. But the recent research has proven that these channels can be effectively used to provide broadband Internet access.
To much of your surprise, these are faster than WiFi. Additionally, they give Non-Line-of Sight performance.
This initiative from Microsoft and Spectra is an aftermath of extensive research and a successful pilot launch in May 2014.
This network is only available in Ghana yet, but faster speed, better reception and cheaper service will surely pave ways for its promotion in other such areas too.
The only point of concern for the producers can be lack of frequency spectrum in hugely populated areas. And this can, in return, put less populated areas on advantage.
Whatsoever, the efforts from both the partners are indeed praise worthy. It is need of the time for technological advancements to reach such far-flung areas as Africa to create equality in world’s financial spectrum. And especially, when it is costing only ‘unused TV channels,’ opposition from any direction is next to impossible.
Abubaker Zahoor writes on diverse topics with special interest in innovations, tech-ethics, and inter-and intra- organizational business relationships.