We have been involved in a number of DSM projects including bringing wireless connectivity to rural Britain and working with Microsoft to connect Africa.
Connectivity in rural areas of Britain remains an issue as the cost of infrastructure is not viable for the amount of usage. This leaves many people and premises across the UK without access to broadband or with very limited bandwidth.
The people of the Isle of Arran in Scotland are part of the 8% of the population in the UK who do not have access to broadband faster than 10Mbps. The sparse housing locations and tough environmental and geographic conditions make traditional connectivity very challenging. A lack of workable broadband has hampered economic growth and innovation, making it less attractive for the younger generation to stay on the island.
Together with partners Microsoft, Broadway Partners and Adaptrum, we are helping to connect the residents of Arran with the first commercial use of wireless TV white space technology. Residents are now accessing speeds of 15Mbps, allowing them to run businesses, connect with family members across the globe and have access to modern online services. A backbone of connectivity is now opening up the island to a new a set of IoT services such as telehealth applications to help support the most vulnerable.
Our dynamic spectrum management solution is being used by Microsoft to deliver broadband in the African continent. The partnership use the TVWS database along with Microsoft’s Azure to enable the deployment of low-cost terrestrial wireless broadband internet to communities across the continent.
TVWS is unassigned or unused broadcast frequencies in the radio spectrum. The available set of TVWS frequencies varies, so the database identifies which frequencies devices can use in that area, at what power and for how long.
This solution enables two-way communications at high data-rates over long distances and delivers connectivity to large open areas where it has been traditionally difficult to deploy fixed infrastructure.
Paul Garnett, Director of Affordable Access Initiatives, Microsoft said: “Microsoft’s current mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. For that reason, Microsoft is working with public and private sector partners around the world to develop technologies and business models that will make it easier for billions more people to affordably get online. In furtherance of these goals, Microsoft is excited to be working with Nominet on developing Microsoft Azure cloud-based TV white space databases that will enable Internet access providers across Africa to leverage unused broadcast frequencies and deliver low-cost broadband Internet access.”
Microsoft is currently supporting broadband connectivity programmes in Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, Ghana and right across Africa through its Affordable Access Initiatives.
More than half of the world’s population lacks access to affordable Internet and the opportunities it makes possible. Through Affordable Access Initiative partnerships with local entrepreneurs and innovators around the world, Microsoft is working to close the digital divide and empower people to do more.