Groups Trial TV White Spaces Technology in Namibia (8/27/14)
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Comments

MyDigitalBridge Foundation successfully trialed the Namibian TV White Spaces (TVWS) pilot project. The intention was to provide a blueprint of broadband Internet connectivity countrywide.

Called Citizen Connect, the pilot consists of a network deployed over a 62-by-152 kilometer area covering three regional councils — Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati — and connecting 28 schools in northern Namibia. This makes it the biggest TVWS project of its kind in terms of area coverage.

The trial connected three regional offices, 28 schools and seven education circuit offices, all with a link distance of 8 – 10 kilometers. Typical speeds range from 5 – 10 Megabits per second (Mbps) with the help of the Adaptrum ARCS 2.0 TVWS radios and provided users access to a wide range of voice, video and data applications.

Namibia, like most sub-Saharan African countries, is facing a digital divide. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) country profile shows that only 13.9 percent of the population is using the Internet. “Our mission is to facilitate appropriate private-public sector (PPP) initiatives to ensure the underserved and unserved communities in Namibia are included in the technology landscape,” said Dr. Hylton Villet, chairman of MyDigitalBridge Foundation, which architected and deployed the network with support of Microsoft and Adaptrum.

The pilot was conducted in partnership with Microsoft and Adaptrum, with support from the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) and Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Namibia.

The deployment of TVWS technology in Africa falls under Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, which launched in February 2013 to actively enable African economic development using relevant, affordable and accessible technology. In collaboration with local partners, Microsoft 4Afrika is piloting TVWS projects in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Ghana. In addition, Microsoft is advocating for laws and regulations that promote more efficient and effective spectrum use as a member of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance.

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