As a part of Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, TV White Spaces has been deployed in Namibia, in an effort to actively enable African economic development using relevant, affordable and accessible technology. The MyDigitalBridge Foundation, partnered with Microsoft and Adaptrum, and supported by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Namibia, has successfully trialed the Namibian TV White Spaces (TVWS) pilot project.
Namibia, like most sub-Saharan African countries, has been facing a digital divide. A recent profile of the country indicated that only 13.9 per cent of the population utilizes the internet. This project was begun to facilitate private-public sector initiatives to expand broadband coverage to communities. The 4Afrika project and White Spaces technology in Namibia will play an important role in transforming and modernizing the entire country.
The concept behind the White Spaces project is direct: to actively enable Namibian economic development using relevant, affordable and accessible technology - specifically internet access. This is viewed as a fundamental pillar in Namibia’s push towards a sustainable knowledge base. TV White Spaces is delivering affordable access to communities and business, utilizing the unlimited potential of broadband. That potential is enabling large scale development of human capital, coupled with the establishment of e-commerce services in the small-to-medium business ecosystem and the delivery of government services such as education and health care.
Called ‘Citizen Connect’, the initial pilot consisted of a network deployed over a 62km x 152km (9,424 km²) area, and connected 28 schools. Namibia’s Citizen Connect TV White Spaces project is the largest yet in terms of area served, with sizeable portions of northern Namibia now connected. The ultimate plan is to provide a network of broadband internet connectivity across Namibia.