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Botswana launches TV white spaces project

Botswana launches TV white spaces project.

Southern African nation Botswana has become the latest African country to launch a TV white spaces (TVWS) pilot project.

TVWS taps unused portions of spectrum in frequency bands - commonly used to deliver television channels - to provide wireless broadband services.

The technology has been rolled out by Microsoft and other partners in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.

The Botswana project is dubbed Project Kgolagano and forms part of the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative.

Microsoft will collaborate with the Botswana Innovation Hub, the Botswana-UPenn Partnership (BUP), Global Broadband Solutions, Vista Life Sciences, BoFiNet, Adaptrum and USAID-NetHope.

According to Microsoft the project will provide internet connectivity and telemedicine services to local hospitals and clinics, which will enable access to specialised medicine in Gaborone and other locations around the world.

“There is currently a lack of specialised care in remote hospitals and clinics in Botswana,” said Dr Geoffrey Seleka, director of the Botswana Innovation Hub Marketing, ICT and Registration.

“Through Project Kgolagano, we will be using TVWS technology to provide access to specialised telemedicine applications, where hospitals can send high-resolution patient photographs back to Gaborone and Philadelphia for a more accurate diagnosis and care,” he added.

The project will initially run in three phase one locations namely Lobatse, Francistown and Maun, with additional locations being added in the coming months.

The hospitals to be connected are Athlone Hospital in Lobatse, Nyangabwe Hospital in Francistown, and Letsholathebe II Memorial Hospital in Maun.

“Microsoft is honoured to be working with the government of Botswana to enable access to specialised maternal medicine in underserved communities by leveraging TV white spaces technology, telemedicine applications, smart devices, and cloud-based services” said Paul Garnett, director of Microsoft’s Technology Policy Group.

Statistics from telecommunications research site BuddeComm claim that 8.9% of Botswana’s 2 million population uses the internet.

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