In early 2013, Microsoft, the government of Kenya under the ministry of ICT and Indigo Telcom Ltd began testing TV white spaces in Nanyuki, Kenya to help users access low-cost internet expected at opening up opportunities for them.
Dubbed the Mawingu project, the firm recently unveilled 15 Wi-Fi hotspots in various centres in the town including areas such as Laikipia District Community Library, Matanya shopping centre, Burguret Dispensary and various schools in the county to help increase access to technology in the country.
“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.
The hotspots are expected to open up the rural areas in Kenya to technology, and more specifically in the education sector. The low-cost, high-speed wireless broadband will also create new opportunities for commerce, education, healthcare, and delivery of government services across Kenya.
‘Mawingu’ Project runs on solar-powered based stations together with TV white spaces, a technology partially developed by Microsoft Research, to deliver high-speed internet access to areas currently lacking even basic electricity. According to Microsoft, the pilot will be used to encourage other African countries to accelerate legislation that would enable this white spaces technology to deliver on the promise of universal access – high-speed wireless internet – for the African continent.