Malawi establishes TV white spaces pilot

Rebecca Hawkes | 03-12-2013

A television white spaces (TVWS) pilot project has been commissioned in Malawi as a step towards providing Internet connection for rural communities.

The TVWS project is being run by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and the University of Malawi, according to the Malawi News Agency.
"This project is a realisation of the commitment by the Government of Malawi to promote universal access to ICT services by creating an environment that is conducive for joint ventures between the public and private sector through arrangements such as Public Private Partnership," said Brown Mpinganjira, Minister of Information and Civic Education.
"The co-operation between MACRA and the University of Malawi bears hallmarks of such an arrangement and should be applauded. This project is one of many initiatives which the Government of Malawi has endorsed in its quest to bring broadband Internet connectivity to citizens of this country," he added.
The project, to utilise the identified gaps or white spaces in the television UHF Band, is being trialled at St Mary's Secondary School, Malawi Defence Force Airwing, Pirimiti Rural Hospital and the Geological Survey Department.
MACRA Board chair, Martha Kwataine, said: "This programme will enable a clinical officer at Pirimiti Health Centre to have access to medical diagnosis material from college of medicine in Blantyre. A student at St Mary's Secondary School will have access to reference material for her assignment from an online library.
"All these examples indicate that broadband connectivity is no longer a luxury but a necessity and it should not be underrated since it is a leap step towards achievement of many development gains that are related to Internet connectivity," she added.
Similiar TVWS pilot schemes have already begun in Kenya, South Africa, the UK and the US.