Six individuals and organisations were recognised during the first Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) Awards Ceremony held at the DSA’s Annual Global Summit in Cape Town, South Africa from May 9 – 11, 2017. Among the winners were Agencia Nacional del Espectro (ANE), Mawingu Networks, Brightwave, Microsoft and the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, which were all recognised and celebrated for their efforts in furthering innovation, increasing inclusion, and pursuing new opportunities in dynamic spectrum access.
Dr Martha Liliana Suárez Peñaloza, Director of the Colombian national spectrum regulator, ANE, was presented with the Award for Innovation in Dynamic Spectrum Access Policies. The award recognizes ANE’s achievement in becoming the first spectrum regulator in Latin America to propose TV White Space regulations.
Commenting after collecting her award, Dr. Suárez commented: “We are honoured to receive such a recognition of our work. The award of Innovation in Dynamic Spectrum Access Policies is the result of all the efforts and projects that ANE has undertaken in its commitment to explore alternative ways to use spectrum to connect people in Colombia who are not connected yet. We expect to continue our work by promoting innovation, efficient spectrum use and the closing of the digital divide in our country.”
The Award for Increasing Digital Inclusion was given to DSA members Mawingu Networks and Brightwave. The award for Mawingu Networks, a fixed, wireless, Internet access provider enabling access to affordable Internet in rural areas around Kenya with poor infrastructure, was collected on behalf of the company by Director Tim Hobbs. Mawingu was recognized for its utilization of Adaptrum and 6Harmonics TV White Spaces and solar-powered base stations to deliver broadband access and create new opportunities for commerce, education, healthcare and delivery of government services. Mawingu is also part of Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative. Hobbs commented: “Our business aims to extend Internet connectivity to people who find it out of reach due to cost. Therefore, we are changing the lives of our customers by enabling them to reap the benefits of being connected!”
Charles Mwaura, CEO of Brightwave, a renowned technological firm whose objective is to provide Internet connectivity in underserved areas in South Africa, collected the accolade on the company’s behalf. Brightwave was recognized for its tremendous work in Soweto, South Africa, where it is currently deploying networks supported by the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) in the Eastern Cape.
“We are extremely pleased with this rare recognition of our efforts by such a prestigious group of global organizations, who are market leaders in the campaign to extend broadband to the next three billion market,” Mwaura commented during his acceptance speech. “At Brightwave, our mission and vision is to be the engine of fundamental change leading to broadband access being ubiquitous across South Africa and the rest of the continent of Africa.”
The Award for Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation was presented to Ranveer Chandra, Principal Researcher at Microsoft for his work helping small farms increase their production and move from sustenance to production using the cloud and dynamic spectrum access.
“This award is an amazing honour and recognition for Microsoft’s work in enabling data-driven agriculture,” said Chandra, after accepting the award. “It helps showcase how dynamic spectrum access policies, for example around TV White Spaces, are critical for democratizing access to farm data, and consequently enabling new algorithms on this data for improving the lives of farmers.”
On behalf of The Centre for Wireless White Space Communications (CWSC) at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, Dr David Crawford, Head of the Centre, was presented with the Award for a Student-Led Initiative or Research on New Opportunities for Dynamic Spectrum Access. The award was presented to the CWSC for its successful leadership on multiple key dynamic spectrum projects across a range of technical areas, including the development of renewable energy powered dynamic spectrum base-stations, contributions to the TV White Space regulations released by UK regulator Ofcom in December 2015, and the use of dynamic spectrum to bring connectivity to rural and digitally-excluded people, communities and businesses.
Paul Garnett, Senior Director for Affordable Access Initiatives at Microsoft, was also honoured with the award for Outstanding Leadership and Contribution for his continued efforts as Chairman of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance Board since 2013. Kalpak Gude, President of Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, said: “Paul Garnett has led the formation of the DSA from its inception to now, four years later, and continues to be a key leader within the organisation as the Chairman and key resource for everything related to the DSA.”
The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance Global Summit was co-hosted by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).