Steve Song

Steve is a researcher and consultant working to expand the use of wireless technologies through shared spectrum strategies and to enable greater internet access throughout Africa and other emerging markets. He is also the founder of Village Telco (https://villagetelco.org), a social enterprise that builds inexpensive WiFi mesh VoIP technologies to deliver affordable voice and internet options in underserved regions. Steve is a regulator commentator on African telecommunications issues at https://manypossibilities.net. He has been involved in advocacy for dynamic spectrum regulation related to television broadcast spectrum since 2008 and was instrumental in the launch of the first Television White Space pilot in South Africa in 2011. Since 2009, Steve has been actively maintaining public maps of undersea and terrestrial fibre optic infrastructure in Africa as well as information on wireless spectrum frequency assignment and occupancy in African countries. From 1997 to 2007, he worked at the International Development Resource Centre, where he led the organization's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development program in Africa and funded research into the transformational potential of ICTs across the continent.

Changes in the telecoms landscape and their implications for universal, affordable access to communication in Africa
Changes in the telecoms landscape and their implications for universal, affordable access to communication in Africa 26 September 2018 APCNews

What are the most relevant changes in the telecommunications landscape and their implications for achieving universal, affordable access to communication in Africa? This was the main focus of a workshop organised by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa (CRASA) on 9 September 2018. Held as a pre-event to the 2018 ITU Telecom World in Durban, South Africa, the workshop featured high-level analysis of the teleco...

Community Networks and Local Access Monthly Newsletter - Number 7
Community Networks and Local Access Monthly Newsletter - Number 7 27 June 2018

Welcome to the seventh monthly round-up of developments impacting your local access networks. 1. Get involved If you are interested in being part of a movement for more transparency in the telecom sector through open data policies and practice, please join the discussion forum at Open Telecom Data. Read more in the discussion piece by Steve Song here and a follow-up podcast interview here.  2. Events and conferences 2.1 Upcoming events  13-18 July 2018 in Toronto, Canada: St...

Community networks: The internet by the people, for the people
Community networks: The internet by the people, for the people 09 March 2018 Various

This book reflects many of the ideas discussed by the members of the Dynamic Coalition on Community Connectivity (DC3) of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, between 2016 and 2017.  In 2015 the world made an important promise to itself. The United Nations set out 17 Global Goals – the Sustainable Development Goals – aimed at achieving extraordinary things in the next 15 years...

Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves?
Local Access Networks: Can the unconnected connect themselves? 31 August 2017

Are local access infrastructure models a viable alternative to connecting the unconnected? As a result of growing awareness of the limitations of the national operator mobile broadband model, there is increasing interest in exploring alternative strategies for reaching the unconnected. Innovations in low-cost communication technology have created new possibilities for the development of afforda...

Television White Spaces Spectrum Workshop: Opportunities for Kenya and South Africa
Television White Spaces Spectrum Workshop: Opportunities for Kenya and South Africa 10 August 2011

Objectives: Deepen understanding of opportunities offered by Television White Spaces Spectrum in Africa focusing on Kenya and South Africa Explore how TVWS can transform the connectivity landscape in Africa to achieve the goal of creating affordable access for all Share ideas and experiences on how TVWS can boost growth of the technology sector in sub-Saharan Africa. The event is aimed ...

South Africa: Untapped TV spectrum can make internet more affordable
South Africa: Untapped TV spectrum can make internet more affordable 28 February 2011

In South Africa, access to voice and internet technologies that use wireless spectrum is certainly possible. However for many, it is simply not affordable. This means that large segments of South Africa’s population cannot readily communicate with the world at large or access information which may be vital to their livelihoods or businesses,” says Steve Song, telecommunications fellow at th...

Open spectrum for development: South Africa case study
Open spectrum for development: South Africa case study 18 February 2011 Steve Song

Prior to 1994, spectrum in South Africa was managed by the state body responsible for its implementation. Thus broadcast spectrum was managed by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and telecommunications spectrum managed by the state telecommunications provider, Telkom. This was generally uncontentious because, prior to the rise of mobile telecommunications and wireless broadband,...

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