Although Africa has the highest growth rates in the world for mobile broadband penetration, wireless broadband services remain largely unaffordable throughout much of the continent.

One way to solve this issue is to tap into portions of television frequency bands that are not being used – that unused portion of the wireless spectrum is known as “TV white spaces.” This technology is an innovative, tested and affordable method of providing wireless broadband.

Microsoft today announced a TV white spaces pilot project in collaboration with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology and UhuruOne to provide affordable wireless broadband access to university students and faculty in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The effort, which targets the essential area of education, will increase digital literacy, teach technical skills, advance e-learning and promote economic growth.

This pilot follows a similar project Microsoft launched in Kenya in February, which uses white spaces and solar power to deliver low-cost wireless broadband to rural locations that previously did not have broadband or even reliable electricity.

These efforts are part of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, a new series of investments that will enable Microsoft to actively engage in Africa’s economic development and improve its global competitiveness.

To read more about the Tanzania pilot, check out the press release or this guest post on the Microsoft on the Issues blog by Paul Garnett, director of the Technology Policy Group at Microsoft. Or learn more about the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative.

Jennifer Chen
Microsoft News Center Staff