Microsoft working to use TV frequencies to facilitate cheap wireless broadband

Microsoft working to use TV frequencies to facilitate cheap wireless broadband

Wireless devices work in a number of ways, with communication overseen by the use of one of a number of protocols. As part of its 4Afrika Initiative, Microsoft is working with SpectraLink Wireless and other partners to tap into unused television frequencies so they can be used by wireless devices, and even to deliver wireless broadband. A new pilot scheme is underway in Ghana, but this is just one of ten projects taking place.

Known as TV white space, the unused frequencies -- if used correctly -- could offer a cheap and effective way to transmit data wirelessly. This is particularly important in emerging market such as Ghana, but it is a technology that has huge potential all over the world.

The pilot scheme will see the delivery of fast internet access to staff and students as universities in Koforidua and will involve the use of "a productivity and communications application solution from Microsoft". Also involved in the project is Facebook, and the three parties are trying to determine how the untapped frequencies of the spectrum could best be used.

The project is not just about lowering the cost of getting online, it is also about delivering internet connectivity to remote areas, and improving connectivity in buildings.

Paul Garnett, director in Microsoft’s Technology Policy Group said: "TV white spaces technology, when combined with other low-cost wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, offers a substantial opportunity for businesses, consumers and governments around the world to improve the economics of broadband network deployment and service delivery".

Other projects will be launching in Taiwan, Uruguay and Scotland.

"We are committed to continuing our work to expand the availability, reduce the cost and improve the quality of cloud-connected experiences, and we’re pleased to work with the industry, academia and policymakers in Ghana and beyond to make that happen," said Garnett.