Now that television companies are increasingly using digital channels, there are parts of the wireless spectrum which are unused. These could potentially provide cheaper and faster internet access to rural and urban areas. This part of the TV spectrum has lower frequencies than others in use and so can cover a much wider area – thus requiring fewer base stations.
The Mawingu [cloud] project in Kenya seeks to improve internet access by using these abandoned TV frequencies, old fashioned antennas and solar-powered base stations. It is calculated that a person would need to pay just $1.20 per week to gain internet access.
As part of the project in Kenya, Microsoft intends to provide smart telephones and computers to schools, hospitals and other social centres; Indigo Telecom will provide training.
But the Kenyan and other governments need to come up with a comprehensive plan to reassign these unused frequencies.
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Jean Shaw, Phi