Spectra Wireless and Microsoft 4Afrika have launched Africa’s first commercial service network, utilising TV white spaces in Ghana to allow students to buy affordable, high speed internet bundles and devices.
The commercial service builds on the success of the initial TV white spaces pilot launched in May 2014. This makes Spectra Wireless the first company in Africa to offer a consumer broadband Internet access service leveraging TV white space technology.
A statement issued in Accra and copied Ghana News Agency on Monday said “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.
“High speed broadband offers students a way to access knowledge from all over the world, equalising the divide between developed and developing nations. While the initial pilot project in Ghana offered wireless broadband to universities, this new commercial service allows students to have their own internet bundles, determine their own usage and purchase an internet-enabled device for anytime, anywhere access and enhanced productivity.”
As part of the commercial pilot service, university students would be able to purchase high speed internet bundles, receive free access to relevant applications, including Microsoft Office 365 and the Microsoft Virtual Academy and apply for zero-interest loans in partnership with UT Bank to purchase select, internet-enabled Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell and HP devices, according to the statement.
“We are breaking away from the standard way of selling Internet services in Africa,” says Sam Darko, Country Leader of Spectra Wireless. “Everyone wants and needs access to the Internet, but there are very few, if any, reliable, unlimited and affordable solutions for the masses.”
The statement said the cheapest data package starts at just two Ghana cedis per day and provides 24 hours of access and asked student to visit http://www.djungle.com.
“Even in advance of launching the commercial service, we have over 3,500 different devices registered on our network, out of a student population in Koforidua of 8,500, so the interest level already has been high. We look forward to educating more students and offering them affordable devices,” Mr Darko added.
Professor H Nwana, Executive Director of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, of which Microsoft and Spectra Wireless’ parent company are both members, says: “Having overseen TV white spaces (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 time in Africa.
“I applaud the Ghanaian regulator, NCA (National Communications Authority, in granting a commercial license, 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.”
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.
Spectra Wireless is the Ghanaian subsidiary of SpectraLink Wireless, a Wireless Application Services Provider building next generation wide area broadband wireless networks using unlicensed spectrum across Africa, with a primary focus on West and Central Africa.
The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance is a global organisation advocating laws and regulations that would lead to more efficient and effective spectrum utilisation. Membership spans multinationals, small- and medium-sized enterprises and other organisations from around the world.