Spectra Wireless and Microsoft 4Afrika have launched a commercial service network in Africa using TV white spaces. The network service, called djungleEd, will allow students to buy affordable, high-speed internet bundles and devices.
TV white spaces are unused frequencies in the wireless spectrum band that can be made available for wireless broadband. The technology was first tested out in a pilot launched in May 2014.
As part of the commercial network service, university students will be able to purchase high-speed internet bundles, use apps such as Microsoft Office 365, and apply for zero-interest loans in partnership with UT Bank to purchase select, internet-enabled Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell and HP devices.
“We are breaking away from the standard way of selling internet services in Africa,” said 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. Our complete djungleEd service for the tertiary education sector provides just that, and together with the application bundles and affordable devices we offer a complete technology upgrade to participating institutions. This service will transform education in Africa.”
The cheapest data package starts at two Ghana cedi per day and provides 24 hours of access. According to Darko, even before the network service had launched, over 5,800 unique client devices were registered to the network.
“Research by the Wi-Fi Alliance in the United States has revealed that 90% of students view access to wi-fi as critical to their success,” said Fernando de Sousa, general manager of Africa Initiatives at Microsoft. “High-speed broadband offers students and teachers a way to access learning resources 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.”
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