On the heels of yesterday's rather odd new-but-not-new national rediscovery of White Space broadband
comes the news that Microsoft is aiming the technology at developing nations in Africa. According to a Microsoft blog post
, the company is partnering with a local ISP to use TV white spaces and solar-powered base stations to deliver low-cost broadband to Kenya, where less than 2% of the public have access to broadband.
The specific technology used is dynamic spectrum access, which enables wireless devices to opportunistically tap into unused radio spectrum to establish broadband connections.
According to Microsoft, the initial deployment in Nanyuki, Kenya provided connectivity to a healthcare clinic, a primary school, two secondary schools and a community center. Fourteen additional deployments covering 6,000 people will arrive over the next few months.
"We believe our work in Kenya serves as strong proof that true commercial deployment of white spaces technology not only makes good business sense, but could have a key role in delivering on the promise of universal access for Africa – significantly reducing barriers to affordable broadband access faced by almost half the world’s population," insists Microsoft.
Microsoft is only one of a significant number of technology companies trying to get in on the ground floor of what's expected to be a massive explosion in technology consumption and demand across Africa. Google recently was willing to put their net neutrality principles in the back seat
and pony up a content troll toll to regional incumbent Orange just to get a leg up in the wireless market.
As part of the Wireless Innovation Alliance
Microsoft haspushed for White Space broadband here in the States, though the technology remains stuck in political and anti-competitive purgatory