Technology Improvements Help Africa to Stay Connected

Reggi Hopkins’ New Blog Post

For many who don’t know, the country of Africa struggles to keep its population online connected to the internet.  Many of us take the internet for granted today using it with our cell phones, tablets, or laptops.  In Africa, if you’re not in the center of a major city, you may have to travel tens of kilometers to the nearest internet facility.  Microsoft believes it can help through the use of TV white space that has since been dropped by television users with the recent migration from analogue to digital.  I believe this is a brilliant idea by Microsoft to help a continent try to stay connected through the use of an idle entity.

Microsoft plans to launch this initiative in October in Limpopo, one of the country’s poorest regions.  This is a great move on Microsoft’s part.  We all know Microsoft to be such a powerhouse in North America, but with its reach out to Limpopo, it shows that the company through all its fortune is willing to help those in need.  There’s actually a university located in Limpopo that struggles to get its students connected to the internet, which is vital to students to complete assignments, projects, and get in touch with professors and other students.

Microsoft is not the only American company to help the people of Africa.  In March, Google launched a similar project to help the schools in Cape Town, Africa.

Now there is another way of looking at this.  Mark Graham, director of research at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, raises a point.  He believes that while Microsoft is helping people get connected, there are people in Africa in need of other resources ahead of the internet.  He points out that schools are still without electricity, toilets, teachers, and textbooks.  While I believe Mark raises a great point, I think those needs are out of Microsofts reach.  It’s great in itself that Microsoft has decided to step up and try this initiative out for Limpopo but they should not by any means feel obligated to have to try to provide these people with textbooks and teachers.  That’s something another company or group of people should step up and try to provide if they wanted to.

Overall, I believe this a great PR move for Microsoft.  Not only are  they helping those in need in Africa, but they’re also doing it rather inexpensively.  Through the use of TV white space, just one broadcast station covers ten kilometers in any direction.  It’s cheap, efficient, and great press for Microsoft.

via Reggi Hopkins Tech Page


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