In Ghana, Spectra Wireless and Microsoft 4Afrika are using white space networks to get internet access to universities across the country. As a result, students will be able to have access to more reliable internet at a more affordable cost. This is one of many efforts to use white space networks to deliver the internet to developing nations.
In the developed world the internet is part of everyday life, and it’s easy to forget that 60% of the world does not have internet access. It’s almost unfathomable to imagine daily routines in developed countries without it.
In developing countries and in rural areas of developed countries, the infrastructure to support the internet is often lacking. The cost of getting the internet to users across a country that struggles to provide other more basic and essential means is unrealistic for many areas, but with white space networks that rely on television signals broadcasting the internet over a wide area rather than copper and Fiberglas wires having to reach each individual access point, Ghana and other developing nations can have the internet reach more of their citizens.
Frank McCosker, General Manager of Affordable Access and Smart Financing at Microsoft Africa explained that, “High speed broadband offers students a way to access knowledge from all over the world, equalizing the divide between developed and developing nations. While the initial pilot project in Ghana offered wireless broadband to universities, this new commercial service allows students to have their own internet bundles, determine their own usage and purchase an internet-enabled device for anytime, anywhere access and enhanced productivity.”
To the end user receiving an internet connection over the white space network does not differ much from the more known hard wire and Wi-Fi set up, but a white space network runs on the same bandwidth as television signals, more specifically unused television bandwidths. The different bandwidth allows signals to travel kilometers rather than meters and travels through walls and solid structures with greater ease.
The internet is often used merely for entertainment but when it comes to education and work it’s essential for many users. I have a job in which I write for people that I’ve never met, about technology that exists on a cloud, that’s read by readers I’ll never see, and I get paid without ever touching an American dollar (I live in the UK and WinBeta is based in America). Almost every major business has a presence on the web and university students rely on the web for more than just Wikipedia. Students in Ghana gaining access to the internet in a way that’s affordable and reliable allows them to more easily pursue an education and careers in a modern, internet driven world.