Spectra Wireless, Microsoft launch Africa’s first commercial ‘white space’ network

28 Jan 2015

US technology giant Microsoft has launched what it claims is Africa’s first commercial broadband network utilising ‘white space’ broadcast frequencies in Ghana, via its 4Afrika initiative. In partnership with SpectraLink Wireless – and in the wake of successful white space pilot tests at universities in Koforidua, Ghana, from May 2014 – the new network will offer students affordable, high speed internet bundles and zero-interest loans in partnership with UT Bank for the purchase of eligible internet-enabled Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell and HP devices. Data packages start from GHS2 (USD0.6) for 24 hours access.

Professor H Nwana, executive director of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, of which Microsoft and Spectra Wireless’ parent company are both members, commented: ‘Having overseen TV white space (TVWS) trials in the UK at Ofcom, I am truly delighted to see Spectra Wireless and Microsoft’s move to make TVWS-based broadband a commercial reality in Ghana, a first in Africa. I applaud the Ghanaian regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA), in granting a commercial licence, which allows use of TV frequencies on a secondary basis as long as TV is not interfered with. This would drive up spectrum efficiency of TV bands in Ghana, and I hope other countries learn from NCA’s decision.’

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