Kenya became the very first country that had the chance to experience TV white space, through the Mawingu pilot project. The project was an initiative between Microsoft, the government of Kenya under the ministry of ICT and Indigo Telcom Ltd.
“White spaces” are unused parts of the spectrum of radio frequencies originally set aside for analog television. Broadband delivered through TVWS has a stronger signal able to travel a longer distance over hills and around/through buildings than other wireless internet delivery methods.
The main reason behind the Mawingu pilot project is to improve technology access in the country. Apart from that, with this platform Kenya will experience new opportunities for commerce, education, healthcare and delivery of government services and not leaving out low-cost high speed wireless broadband.
According to Frank McCosker, General Manager of Affordable Access and Smart Financing in Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiatives, since their first phase in Nanyuki Laikipia the demand for similar projects has gone up.
“It has opened up the rural areas in Kenya to technology, and more specifically in the education sector. When a person sees something good come out they equally want it, so making the demand bigger. So we are still looking at the dynamics of satisfying the growing demand,” he said.
The General Manager also said that, in as much as the pilot project is spreading fast, they still feel like they do not have enough time to finish the pilot project.
In regard to the similar projects done in Ghana and South Africa, McCosker, told TechMoran that the sector of focus is the education sector. He added that in the three countries, the South African project has grown quickly as they have covered the largest space compared to Kenya and Ghana. He pointed out that the main challenge that Ghana and Kenya is facing is infrastructure as South Africa, compared to the three countries, is more established in ICT.
McCosker said that they are yet to conlude the pilot project and embark on the real deal; adding that when it comes to the real deal the three partnes will need new investers to support them. He concluded that TV White Space will have a major impact to the economy as well as the technology relm of Kenya saying that it is the only way that rural Kenya can access internet.