TV White Spaces- Affordable Access

Microsoft`s Africa initiatives (4Afrika) built to actively engage in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness across three key pillars Innovation, Affordable Access and World class skills, this is in line with Microsoft`s Commitment to Empower every organization on the Planet to Achieve more.

In Kenya, Microsoft Working with a local partner Mawingu, rolled out a low-cost Internet bandwidth Solution leveraging on the empty analog TV Spectrum to transmit low-cost Internet in remote areas.

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Currently in Nanyuki there are several organizations/institutions that are benefiting from access to connectivity. for Example, Gakawa Secondary School have improved the performance of their students.

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Organizations such as the Airstrip in Nanyuki or the Tambuzi flower Farm are also Beneficiaries.

Access to the Internet today has almost become a human right and with Organizations like Mawingu looking to Provide this then is now an opportunity for Africa to build its competitiveness on the global scale.

Microsoft will soon begin its low-cost Internet technology pilot project in Rwanda to provide affordable access to the Internet and enable Educational institutions to leverage on the Existing educational tools that are available to students from Microsoft.

The company unveiled its “TV white spaces” technology at the just concluded Transform Africa Summit.

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According to Malcolm “TVWS refers to the gaps, or white spaces, found between TV channels”. These are spaces of unused spectrum that TV networks place in between their channels to protect broadcasts from interference. They are also known as “guard bands”.


Malcolm Brew, Chief Fundi at Mawingu


How is TVWS different from Wi-Fi?

TVWS and Wi-Fi operate at different frequencies. Wi-Fi operates at a high “microwave” frequency at 2.4 gigahertz. This means the wavelengths are small and tend to be absorbed or reflected by objects they encounter; hence Wi-Fi typically only covers a range of approximately 30 to 50 meters and has trouble passing through barriers such as walls and trees.

TVWS, on the other hand, operates at a much lower frequency and has longer wavelengths that can easily travel up to 10 kilometers. Like TV signals, TVWS can penetrate obstacles such as concrete walls and vegetation, even bending over hill tops, making them a good option to serve rural communities.





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