The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) has joined forces with Microsoft to support the effort to bring affordable wireless broadband to university students in Dar es Salaam.
The partnership is part of the software and hardware giant’s Microsoft4Africa Initiative and will see them work with COSTECH and UhuruOne in bringing a TV white spaces project to fruition.
TV white spaces – unused wireless spectrum usually reserved for television – can be used to provide internet connectivity.
“White spaces technology and efficient spectrum management have a huge potential for expanding affordable broadband access throughout the world, “ said Paul Garnett, director at Microsoft’s technology policy group.
Garnett said after the Mawingu project had been announced in Kenya, they were “flooded with requests” from several governments and organisations across Africa requesting Microsoft do something similar in their country.
Social entrepreneurs UhuruOne’s involvement will be as internet service provider.
Mihayo Wilmore, a founding partner at UhuruOne, said: “This project exemplifies our approach to connecting underserved populations.
“We are committed to increasing the affordability, accessibility and availability of broadband service in Tanzania and are pleased to be working with Microsoft and COSTECH in this critical effort.”
The University of Dar es Salaam is the primary target of the first stage of the pilot, allowing students and staff to access wireless broadband.
Hassan Mshinda, director general of COSTECH, said: “We anticipate that tens of thousands of Tanzanian students and faculty members will be able to take advantage of the wireless broadband packages offered by UhuruOne through the project.”
As part of the deal between COSTECH, Microsoft and UhuruOne, Windows 8 devices will also be made available to students.
It is hoped the projects will increase digital literacy, teach technical skills, advance e-learning and ultimately promote economic growth.