by Simon Capstick-Dale

Free wireless networks for Africa

Project Focus

Google does Africa

Google has unveiled plans to roll out free wireless networks across Africa and Asia using high-altitude blimps and balloons.

If the project is successful, one billion previously unconnected people will have internet access.

Meanwhile, back on the ground, Google lobbyists are targeting regulators across developing countries to allow them to use airwaves currently reserved for television broadcasts – which operate at lower frequencies and can therefore penetrate buildings and travel longer distances than current WiFi technology.

Small-scale trials are underway in Cape Town, where a base station is broadcasting signals to wireless access boxes in high schools over several kilometres.

Software detects which areas of the spectrum are not being used for TV broadcast and can be used for the network at any given time.

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