According to various studies, there is a connectivity gap between the backbone network and the last-mile access network in Kenya. According to the study, some of the major hindrances to last-mile connectivity included infrastructure, cost, breadth and depth, rules and regulations.
Some of the major internet last mile connectivity in Kenya include the traditional LAN, analog modems, ISDN, DSL, fiber optics, Wireless networks, light waves, radio waves, and satellite communication.
Kenya’s Mawingu Networks, a last-mile wireless internet service provider, has closed a financing round with Energy Access Ventures (EAV) and The Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO).
While currently 60% of the Kenyan population live within 25km of a fiber optic cable, less than 1% of households are connected to broadband as these connections are costly. A connection through mobile internet is widely available but also equally costly. These high prices hinder frequent and reliable use.
Mawingu Networks provides dependable and improved access to internet services for households, SMEs and enterprises through its own infrastructure by connecting to the fiber optic grid of large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). Using high-performance low-cost wireless technology and solar power, Mawingu’s vision is to connect Africa with affordable, reliable and enhanced internet connectivity.
Africa’s increasing population, coupled with its growing technological capabilities, will facilitate a thriving economy and enable development. However, the continent must keep up with the rapid advancement in global digitisation in order to maintain progress in growth and development. Mawingu bridges the digital divide, fostering development and creating opportunities for all. The company has commenced operations in Kenya, where they have a significant presence in the Eastern and Central regions. Mawingu will use the capital raised to expand its operations throughout Kenya and East Africa.
“Enabling access to reliable and affordable internet connectivity is crucial if Africa is going to bridge the digitisation gap that it currently faces,” stated Oliver August, CEO of Mawingu Networks. “Looking forward, the impact of Mawingu’s technology is far-reaching, especially with the rise of the internet-of-things and interconnectedness of devices forming smart homes and businesses.”
Paras Patel, Partner at EAV said, “With their innovative business model and the smart use of wireless technology, the Mawingu team are able to offer quality and affordable connectivity, while building a commercially sustainable business. We are excited to help the team grow this company and become a pivotal actor in the Smart Infrastructure revolution.”
FMO is excited to invest in Mawingu Networks. Mawingu is considered a vital player in the connectivity space in Africa. “Mawingu’s infrastructure enables the company to provide high-quality internet at significantly lower costs than currently available traditional solutions. This makes it possible to connect millions of underserved customers across Africa. Access to internet is one of the largest drivers of economic growth,”said Marieke Roestenberg, who manages the Ventures Team at FMO. “It’s FMO’s first co-investment with local partner EAV, a front-runner in the energy access and smart infrastructure investment space.”