South Africa’s rural internet connectivity receives massive boost

23rd November 2023

South Africa’s rural internet connectivity receives massive boost

South Africa’s drive to improve rural internet connectivity has received a massive boost with the handover of 24 Television White Space (TVWS) gateway equipment worth over $120 000 by, an South Korea- based equipment manufacturer Innonet Co. Ltd.

The 24 gateway devices handed over on November 16, 2023, are set to boost rural connectivity and enable local wireless internet service providers to deploy TVWS broadband networks in remote communities in South Africa. This was made possible through an investment from the Korean Government through the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and Innonet Co. Ltd.

The digital divide in South Africa's rural communities is a prevalent issue, affecting various aspects such as access to information, educational opportunities, economic resources and participation in the digital economy. One of the barriers to accessing digital services in these regions is a lack of proper infrastructure, which includes insufficient broadband internet connectivity.

Over the years, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been championing the deployment of TVWS in rural communities in the country. In 2021, the first pilot of CSIR’s TVWS technology was launched to enable low-cost internet to the Mdantsane community, in the Eastern Cape.  Working with various industry partners the CSIR also launched the AdNotes Rural Television White Space Network in KwaXolo, in Ray Nkonyeni Municipality in Ugu District, in KwaZulu Natal.

The current sponsorship of these gadgets stems from the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organisations in September 2023. The MoU outlined their joint efforts to assist ICT-focused beneficiary small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in various areas, including the piloting of TVWS technology, applied research and technology development, localisation of TVWS equipment and software, and manufacturing of telecommunications equipment in South Africa.

This collaboration promotes economic development while expediting the expansion of small businesses in rural communities. In alignment with identified beneficiary SMMEs, Innonet Co. Ltd will carefully select and train the SMMEs in the operation of TVWS equipment, ensuring they acquire the essential skills to maximise the use of the equipment. The deployed equipment will empower local wireless internet service providers to establish TVWS broadband networks in rural areas spanning Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Free State and Eastern Cape.

“We will do our best to improve life in South Africa and across Africa by improving communications infrastructure,” said Innonet Co. Ltd CEO Dr Hosang Yoo.

The event was attended by beneficiaries from different provinces including small business owners and community radio stations. CSIR Principal Researcher for Spectrum Access and Management Innovation Prof Luzango Mfupe said communities stand to benefit from this project.

“The need to provide access to dependable and affordable internet connectivity is the driving force for our focus on rural regions, and TVWS is one of the technologies that could assist address this issue. This partnership will improve skills for nearby firms in addition to touching lives. We will provide them with the necessary training to enable them to generate much-needed jobs in their communities.”



David Mandaha, CSIR Media Relations Manager

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About the CSIR:

The CSIR, an entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a science council, the CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research and technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. For more information, visit

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About Innonet Co. Ltd

Innonet was established in 2011 and has been researching for years to develop TVWS Technology. They are growing worldwide with its leading TVWS technology in new IT convergence markets such as crime prevention, disaster safety, and public communication infrastructure.