USTDA expands affordable Internet access in South Africa

adaptrum signingThe US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a grant to South Africa’s Wireless Access Providers Association (WAPA) for a pilot project that will help improve Internet access for rural and semi-rural areas in South Africa

This will be done using American TV White Space (TVWS) technologies.

Thomas R. Hardy, USTDA’s acting director, said, “This grant demonstrates USTDA’s continuing commitment to developing quality and affordable ICT infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa. Through our Access Africa initiative, USTDA is connecting our African partners with innovative US suppliers of technology ideally suited for the local environment.”

TVWS technology uses the unused broadcast spectrum to help connect rural and semi-rural customers to affordable Internet service. USTDA’s pilot will showcase Adaptrum’s technology, a wireless broadband solution provider based in San Jose, CA, along with that of other US companies.

The consortium carrying out the pilot will be led by Adaptrum and includes Microsoft and International Data Corporation (IDC) of Framingham, MA. USTDA’s pilot will help WAPA promote TVWS networks to its wireless Internet service provider member companies.

Paul Colmer, executive committee member and pilot project lead, added, “The pilot will benefit our members and ultimately the communities they serve. This support from USTDA will be invaluable in bridging the digital divide, which is of critical importance to community upliftment.”

Haiyun Tang, CEO of Adaptrum, commented, “Since deploying the first TVWS system in Africa, Adaptrum has seen the huge potential of this technology to bring much-needed connectivity to unserved communities.”

“With this pilot, which brings together local stakeholders as well as leading experts spanning technology and financing, we are aiming to build a sustainable business model to provide affordable broadband using TVWS across South Africa, which can be replicated over a large percentage of rural Africa,” he stated.

Political and Economic Chief for the US Consulate General in Durban Hala Rharrit signed the grant on behalf of USTDA, along with WAPA Executive Committee Member Paul Colmer.

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?