Through a project dubbed Mawingu, Kiswahili word for cloud, solar power broadband base stations will deliver high-speed Internet in areas lacking electricity.
"When we talk of a game-changer, Mawingu project will do for
The maiden phase of the project will see 300km square, an area with a population of 60,000, in Laikipia County connected to the Internet.
Mawingu uses low-cost, low-power, wireless broadband employing redundant or unused spectrum bands previously reserved for television broadcasting (also referred to as TV white spaces or TVWS).
The initiative also includes a plan to deliver low-cost Wi-Fi access to communities through co-operatives. Subscribers will be charged a small fee for Internet use. The funds will be reinvested in the project to make it sustainable.
White spaces technology was developed over 10 years ago, in part by
"This is not charity. We fully intend to make money by reaching those who have previously been unable to access the Internet either because of where they live or because they cannot afford it," Ms Kariuki said.
The deployment of Internet infrastructure will fall within its new business strategy.
"It is not a secret that we are a company in transition. Going forward, as a devices and services company, we are looking for opportunities in untapped markets such as rural
She said that the service won't be free for ever as the firm was looking forward to commercialising it with a nod from industry regulator Communications Authority of
Through the project,
Laikipia leaders have welcomed the initiative with the county's ICT and Education executive
"Northern Laikipia is extremely hard to reach and it may take ages before the electricity grid is extended or our leading mobile operators put up their masts. But the
The country has 11.5 million Internet users, according to statistics from the CAK and majority are those in urban areas.
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