South Africa Wants Microsoft To Help Bring Affordable Internet
Ryan Martin / 3 years ago
South Africa is a nation that is plagued by relatively sub-par telecommunications and internet infrastructures, though it is still probably one of the best connected nations in the whole of Africa and is relatively advanced in that sense. However, progress in South Africa’s internet access and service quality has been relatively slow in terms of its fixed line infrastructure. In part this is due to the monopolistic foot-dragging of telecommunications giant Telekom who’s effective monopoly on ADSL lines has slowed progress almost to a total halt. They have been accused of charging excessive line rental, pricing many out of the market, and of not doing enough to improve connectivity to all areas of the country, as well as not doing enough to improve the speeds of existing infrastructures.
Microsoft is now being offered the chance to step in a fix the mess in South Africa according to Bloomberg. Starting in the North-Eastern province of Limpopo Microsoft has been trialling the provision of internet access through an unused part of the TV spectrum. Microsoft are reportedly cooperating with Telkom and MWEB ISP on the issue. It remains to be seen whether fast and reliable internet can even be rolled out on existing wired infrastructures hence why it is not surprising Microsoft are trialling wireless methods of internet delivery. The lack of internet access is reportedly hurting the South African economy and slowing growth. South Africa has just 2.18% of the population connected via a broadband fixed line – less than half the number of Vietnam or Peru. Microsoft’s plan is reported to be structured around solar-powered wireless internet to increase coverage to disconnected areas that Telkom have all but neglected.
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