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.’