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Citizen’s Bridge Project in Namibia connects 28 schools to the Internet using FPGA-based TV White Space modems

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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MyDigitalBridge Foundation, Microsoft, and Adaptrum have successfully completed a pilot project called "Citizen Connect," which wirelessly connects 28 schools in Namibia with Ethernet over a 62x152km (9,424 km²) area using TVWS (TV White Space) spectrum. The Namibia project is part of Microsoft's 4Afrika Initiative, which launched in February 2013 to provide Africa with relevant, affordable, and accessible technology including Internet access. “Internet access is a fundamental pillar in Africa’s leap forward towards a sustainable knowledge economy. We are seeing first-hand the direct impact of TVWS delivering affordable access to communities and business. The unlimited potential of broadband is enabling large scale development of human capital, the establishment of e-commerce services in the small and medium business ecosystem and the delivery of government services such as education and health care to the community.” says Fernando de Sousa, Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative General Manager. MyDigitalBridge Foundation architected and deployed the Citizen Connect TV White Spaces network in Namibia.

 

 

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A system trial last month at the University of Namibia’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos Campus in Ongwadiva, Namibia demonstrated connection among three regional offices, 28 schools, and seven education circuit offices over link distances of 8 to 12 km at speeds ranging from 5 to 10Mbps. During this demo, the system provided users with voice, video, and data communications including a high-resolution, 3-way Skype video conference.

 

According to Gokhan Cosgul, Adaptrum’s Director of Technology, the Citizen connect project is the world’s largest fully operational TVWS deployment to date. Adaptrum is providing its second-generation ACRS 2.0 TVWS radio equipment, which is delivering network connection speeds of 5-10Mbps in the Citizen Connect project. The plan is that this pilot project will provide a blueprint for broadband Internet connectivity countrywide. Adaptrum’s ACRS 2.0 TVWS modems are based on Xilinx Kintex-7 XC7K355T FPGAs. (For more information about the Adaptrum ACRS 2.0 equipment and the company’s background, see the Xcell Daily blog post “FPGA-Based Cognitive Radio Techniques Exploit TV White Space to Provide Internet Services,” and the Xcell Journal article “Kintex-7 FPGA Receiver Mines TV ‘White Space’ for new Comms Services.”)

 

 

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