Microsoft advances South African TV white spaces project
Rebecca Hawkes
| 23 June 2014
Microsoft's TV white space trial in South Africa has begun the implementation phase to provide mobile broadband to communities in Limpopo province without access to the Internet.

Groundwork for the pilot began in July 2013, after the launch of Google's similar TV white space project in ten Cape Town schools.

The trials hope to demonstrate that broadband Internet can be offered at low cost over the unused channels in the broadcast television spectrum, otherwise known as white spaces, without interfering with other services.

If successful, the technology could be used to help the South African government achieve 80% broadband penetration by 2020.

"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," said Mteto Nyati, managing director, Microsoft South Africa.

The University of Limpopo and five high schools lying within an 8 kilometre radius of the university will be the first venues to be connected by the project.

The Department of Science and Technology, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and local network developer and equipment vendor Multisource will all work as partners with the US IT giant.

Microsoft is also running TV white space trials in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, UK, Singapore and the Philippines.