Project Kgolagano (TV White Space)
Following the success of the pilot project on TV White Space broadband access service at Tsopeng clinic in Lobatse last year, the pilot project was later extended to run in Francistown and Maun. The hospitals connected to the service are Athlone Hospital in Lobatse, Nyangabwe Hospital in Francistown, and Letsholathebe II Memorial Hospital in Maun. In addition to these, Tsopeng Clinic in Lobatse, Donga Clinic in Francistown and Moeti Clinic, Boseja Clinic, Maun Clinic, Sedie Clinic and Maun General Clinic were also connected.
The TV White Space project which is called Project Kgolagano uses TV White Space from the free Dynamic TV Spectrum for access to broadband internet. It provides internet connectivity to hospitals and clinics to support the health care service delivery with telemedicine services.
In telecommunications, White Spaces refer to frequencies allocated to a broadcasting service but not used locally. Botswana Innovation Hub has requested for a special pilot license from Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) to transmit on TV White Spaces. “This is a cutting edge technology that has the potential of providing cheaper broadband internet connectivity to areas that were not connected before. The technology is ideal as it can work in areas where there is no electricity, and it can lower the cost of an access base station by a factor of 10,” states Manager of the Microsoft Innovation Centre, Patel Barwabatsile.
Project Kgolagano is a collaboration of Microsoft Corporation, University of Pennsylvania, Global Broadband Solutions, Vista Life Sciences, Bofinet and USAID-NetHope. As the pilot project enters its second phase, the participating partners will embark on a site visit and implementation of Francistown and Maun sites from Wednesday 19th April till Saturday 23rd April, 2016. “The purpose of the site tour is to view and asses places where the system is going to be implemented,” states Patel.
Botswana Innovation Hub is a member of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA). DSA is the alliance made up of companies and organizations that are piloting and driving the adoption of the TV White Space broadband internet technology. The DSA will hold its Annual Summit and General Meeting of members in Bogota, Colombia from 26th – 28th April, 2016 where Patel will represent Botswana Innovation Hub.