The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) today earned accolades from the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, (DSA), for approving the support that will authorise the use of TV White Space (TVWS). Not only will this make a significant difference in addressing Kenya’s increasing need for bandwidth especially in the underserved areas, but it will also contribute greatly to the Kenya National Broadband Strategy 2018 – 2013. It will reach the remotest parts of the country, said Martha Suarez, President of DSA.
“We are delighted to see that the TVWS framework will now be used to enable cost-effective broadband deployment to increase digital inclusion across Kenya. More opportunities for digital growth and innovation will now be possible” says Martha Suárez, adding that “Following many years of advocating for TVWS in Kenya, we are thrilled to see the potential of TVWS realised as a catalyst to a digital future.”
TV White Space refers to those unused TV channels that exist between living ones in the VHF and UHF spectrum. Research had proven that the unused spectrum can actually be used to provide broadband Internet access while simultaneously transmitting surrounding TV signals.
“The provision of lightly licensed white space devices will allow for affordable broadband and internet access to be delivered in unserved and underserved regions of Kenya.”
The new TVWS framework will serve as a flexible way to make efficient use of spectrum while protecting existing and incumbent users from interference. The framework will play a key role in meeting the broadband penetration goals. The TVWS framework will allow lightly licensed white space devices to operate at locations where Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) bands are not in use by licensed services, while protecting primary users from receiving harmful interference.
As demand rapidly rises for high-quality broadband, this dynamic approach to spectrum sharing will play a vital role in supporting various use cases, including broadband data, Internet of Things (IoT), Super Wi-Fi, emergency communications, and community networks.
Suárez added, “The provision of lightly licensed white space devices will allow for affordable broadband and internet access to be delivered in unserved and underserved regions of Kenya. This decision is enabling a new digital ecosystem, giving access to spectrum to local Kenyan Internet Service Providers that are making incredible efforts to provide affordable connectivity in rural areas, and especially now during the COVID-19 crisis that connectivity has proven to be an essential service.”
“Research had proven that the unused spectrum can actually be used to provide broadband Internet access while simultaneously transmitting surrounding TV signals.”
CA has been engaging with stakeholders, including the academia and industry, with the support of the DSA to discuss the technical aspects of spectrum management. Meanwhile, they partnered with Strathmore University and Strathclyde University (UK) to investigate opportunities for various spectrum models in Kenya. TV White Space research programmes are supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. As for this bit of good news, it is thanks to the partnership between CA and Strathmore University, @iLab Africa supported by the UK Prosperity Fund Digital Access Programme. This collaboration has resulted in the success of the TVWS framework coming home in what is a leap for CA and for Kenya.