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TV white spaces on trial

ICASA has approved plans by telecoms start-up AfriCanopy to roll out high-speed low-cost broadband to residents of the King Cetshwayo municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The trial of AfriCanopy’s new telecoms technology, which is scheduled to last eight months, is expected to provide high-speed low-cost broadband coverage for up to 85 000 King Cetshwayo municipality residents, while providing free internet access to 50 rural schools across the region.

AfriCanopy also promises the creation of 400 new jobs in the region as aspiring local entrepreneurs will be equipped with ‘Business-in-a-Box’ kits that include solar power supplies, Wi-Fi devices and television white space (TVWS) equipment. This will enable them to sell airtime, data and cellular charging services to customers at much lower prices than are currently available.

AfriCanopy will provide this new cohort of telecoms entrepreneurs with all the technical and business training needed to run these businesses, in the hope that they will contribute to the economic wellbeing of the wider municipality. If successful, this new technology could then be rolled out in other internet-starved rural areas across South Africa.

This is the first time that ICASA has authorised a company to begin a commercial trial with television white space devices. The unique selling point of TVWS is that it uses those portions of the UHF terrestrial television spectrum that are not used by broadcasters, and they can be repurposed to transmit voice and data cheaper, and over greater distances than cellular frequencies.

Not only does AfriCanopy’s technology make more efficient use of available spectrum, it also poses no threat of interference to existing broadcasters. Moreover, TVWS also has better in-building penetration than is currently available with regular cellular frequencies.

AfriCanopy hopes to raise R32-million to fund the programme. The AfriCanopy team is currently conducting negotiations with both private and public backers.

“We are delighted by the ICASA decision, and look forward to pioneering the provision of high-speed, low-cost broadband services to our rural communities,” said Samora Xorile, AfriCanopy’s founder. “We believe that broadband coverage should be available to everyone in South Africa – including previously excluded rural communities.”

AfriCanopy plans to begin the trial of its telecoms technology in the King Cetshwayo municipality after securing funding. It estimates that it will be able to do so by the first quarter of 2019.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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New AirPods and iMac in iStore this weekend

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iStore has announced availability of the new second generation AirPods and iMac, unveiled this week, in store this weekend.

The AirPods are priced from R2 899 and the new iMac from R23 499. Customers can also order these new products from iStore’s website.

“AirPods revolutionised the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love,” said iStore in its announcement. “The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free ‘Hey Siri’.”

AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new wireless charging case that works with Qi standard chargers. The wireless charging case can be ordered for R3 699. The case can be used with the first or second generation AirPods.

The iMac line now has up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance. The new iMac is faster for everyday tasks, up to demanding pro workloads. It includes retina display, all-in-one design, quiet operation, fast storage and memory, modern connectivity and macOS Mojave.

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