Microsoft has announced a new TV white space project with SpectraLink Wireless and Facebook to provide low-cost wireless connectivity to students and faculty at universities in Koforidua, Ghana. Globally, Microsoft is now involved in white spaces pilots in 10 countries. Microsoft's commercial partnership with SpectraLink Wireless and research partnership with Facebook will deploy wireless networks covering entire campuses at All Nations University College and Koforidua Polytechnic. This pilot is part of Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative to help improve the continent's global competitiveness.
For students and faculty at the universities, access to the network will be coupled with productivity and communications applications as well as internet-enabled devices. The networks will use TV white space-enabled radios and other wireless technologies to connect campus buildings, as well as off-campus hostels where students live, to ensure they have access to fast broadband. The project is operating under a pilot licence granted by the Ghana National Communications Authority and is the only such licence currently issued in West Africa.
Facebook's main involvement in the project will be to collaborate with Microsoft and SpectraLink Wireless on joint technology research to better understand how TV white space spectrum and equipment can support wireless internet. These efforts will be led by Facebook's Connectivity Lab team, who are working on new technologies to support Internet.org's mission to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world not yet connected. The partnership was announced at the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance summit in Accra.
Microsoft is involved in other white-space trials in Africa, Asia and Europe. Last week, Microsoft was announced as a founding member of Taiwan's Dynamic Spectrum Access Pilot Group. The group includes leading Taiwanese companies, academic and research institutions, as well as Mediatek, the Communications Research Center at the National Taiwan University, and the Taiwan Institute for Information Industry. The group will conduct pilot projects in Taiwan for both rural broadband access and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as Smart Grid, using TV white space radios.
In Latin America, Microsoft is involved in the region's first white spaces pilot in Uruguay, where the company is providing technical support to Plan Ceibal, an initiative supporting the integration of ICT in the country's public education system. Plan Ceibal will use TV white space technology provided by Dynamic Spectrum Alliance member 6Harmonics to provide broadband access to ten rural schools.
Finally, in the UK, Microsoft is working with regulator Ofcom and other partners on a pilot in Glasgow. The pilot is led by the Centre for White Space Communications at the University of Strathclyde, with support from the Scottish Government's Demonstrating Digital programme, and will use TV white space radios to enable Wi-Fi hotspots and webcam image backhaul at various outdoor locations within the university's city center campus.
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