Microsoft plans to connect residents of Nanyuki with low-cost wireless internet services. The main objective behind the initiative is to deliver affordable Internet service and connectivity in a bid to providing service to under-served regions of the country. The move is also expected to enable the residents of Nanyuki stream TV content, while connected to the service.
The program dubbed ‘mawingu’ (cloud) is the first deployment of 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.
The program is part of Microsoft’s broader 4Afrika Initiative, which is aimed at improving the continent’s global competitiveness. The project has since established 15 Wi-Fi hotspots near Nanyuki, including; Matanya shopping centre, Burguret Dispensary, Male Primary and Secondary School, Gakawa Secondary School and Laikipia District Community Library.
Microsoft hopes to implement similar pilots in East and Southern Africa in the coming months to further explore the commercial feasibility of white space technologies. These pilots will be used to encourage other African countries to accelerate legislation that would enable this white spaces technology deliver on the promise of universal access to high speed wireless internet for the African continent.
In early 2013, an initial trial of the technology in Kenya was announced hence, the project is finally beginning to progress.