Microsoft Teams With the Government of Kenya and Indigo Telecom to Deliver
Low-Cost, Solar-Powered Broadband Access Using Cutting-Edge TV White Space
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb. 5, 2013
-- Pilot is part of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative to help improve
continent's global competitiveness.
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Microsoft Corp., in collaboration
with the government of Kenya's Ministry of Information and Communications and
Indigo Telecom Ltd., today announced the launch of a pilot project delivering
low-cost wireless broadband access to previously unserved locations near
Nanyuki and Kalema, Kenya. The network utilizes TV white spaces and
solar-powered base stations to deliver broadband access and create new
opportunities for commerce, education, healthcare and delivery of government
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )
This pilot is part of Microsoft's broader 4Afrika Initiative (see related
release ), to help improve the continent's global competitiveness. A core goal
of the 4Afrika Initiative is to facilitate access to technology for the masses
and to empower African students, entrepreneurs, developers and others to
become active global citizens.
TV white spaces, the unused portions of wireless spectrum in the frequency
bands generally used for television, are particularly well-suited for
delivering low-cost broadband access to rural and other unserved communities.
Radio signals in the TV bands travel over longer distances and penetrate more
obstacles than other types of radio signals and, therefore, require fewer base
stations to provide ubiquitous coverage. Microsoft intends to use this pilot
and other similar initiatives to encourage African governments to make the
needed legal and regulatory changes that would allow this type of technology
to be deployed continentwide.
"Microsoft was built on the idea that technology should be accessible and
affordable to the masses, and to date, this promise has remained unfulfilled
in Africa," said Louis Otieno, Legal and Corporate Affairs director for Africa
initiatives at Microsoft. "This technology has the potential to deliver on the
promise of universal and affordable high-speed wireless broadband for Africa,
and we are proud and humbled to be part of this important effort."
The project is the first deployment of TV white space technology in Africa
targeted at communities without access to broadband or electricity and is a
result of a memorandum of understanding that presents a framework of
cooperation between Microsoft, the Kenyan Ministry of Information and
Communications and industry partner Indigo Telecom. To date, work in this
space in Africa has exclusively focused on demonstrating the technical
feasibility of using TV white space technology. This project takes an
important next step forward by instead focusing on assessing the commercial
feasibility of delivering low-cost access using TV white space technology.
The initial installation near Nanyuki includes five customer locations: the
Burguret Dispensary (healthcare clinic), Male Primary School, Male Secondary
School, Gakawa Secondary School and Laikipia District Community Library. The
installation in Kalema will begin with a base station that connects to a
government of Kenya agricultural extension office. Fourteen more locations on
the network will be added in the coming months. The network will also feature
white space radios manufactured by Adaptrum.
Utilizing the latest Window 8 tablets, Windows 8 applications and Microsoft
Office 365, Indigo will provide computer labs and instruction to each school
and the library and work with community leaders and local companies to
identify the most beneficial services and applications for each location,
including in the agriculture and education spaces.
"Indigo is committed to finding and deploying the best solutions for our
customers' needs, which in this case means bringing broadband access to
previously unserved communities," said Peter Henderson, chairman of Indigo
Telecom, the local Internet service provider partnering in the project.
"Beyond simply providing access, we have given the community a real stake in
the pilot's success by creating a cooperative to manage the project, an effort
that included hiring and training a local community member to serve as the lab
"TV white spaces and efficient spectrum management represent a creative,
tested and affordable way of extending broadband access to unserved
communities," said Paul Garnett, director in Microsoft's Technology Policy
Group. "Kenya is one of the countries leading the way in using this innovative
solution, and we hope regulators around the world take note and develop legal
frameworks that support broader commercial deployment of TV white space
technology in their own jurisdictions."
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software,
services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full
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