In South Africa, start-up AfriCanopy plans to deploy high-speed, low-cost internet in rural communities using the white space of television. These are waves reserved for television channels, but which are ultimately not used. The first tests of the project will be carried out in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
AfriCanopy said the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the regulator of communication, had approved its experimentation project. In April, ICASA released its final regulation on the use of white space for television, but the technology for exploiting these waves for a commercial Internet offer was not mentioned. This is the first time that ICASA has given the green light for a company to begin a commercial trial with television white space devices.
AfriCanopy will also enable the creation of 400 new jobs in the region as potential local entrepreneurs will be equipped with ‘Business-in-a-Box’ kits that include solar power supplies, Wi-Fi devices and television white space (TVWS) equipment. This will allow them to sell airtime, data and cellular charging services to customers at much lower prices than are currently available.
The tests are expected to last eight months and will enable approximately 85,000 residents of KwaZulu-Natal province to access broadband Internet. To carry out its project, AfriCanopy is currently in the midst of fundraising. The company wants to raise $ 2.1 million and are currently conducting negotiations with both private and public companies.