Spectrum Management

Kenya's Regulator Publishes TV White Spaces Guidelines

The Communications Authority of Kenya has published its guidelines for using TV White Spaces (TVWS), highlighting the approved framework for those wanting to operate TVWS and the procedures for the geolocation database needed to run the TV White Spaces.

According to reports, this framework has been in the pipeline for eight years. From 2016, Kenya's Mawingu Networks took it upon themselves to cross over to ISM bands in the absence of regulatory clarity of the TV White Spaces. Regardless of the cross over, Mawingu Networks continued to be supportive of the TVWS project.

The Authority's TVWS allocation is in the 470-694 MHz UHF spectrum band. The allocation is based on consultations that were held with stakeholders during the TVWS project trial stages. This trial was conducted between 2013 and 2019 with an agreed outcome that stated that the TVWS framework would work alongside Licensing and Shared Spectrum Framework for Community Networks for Kenya, which the Authority has recently issued.

Although Safaricom has opposed the allocation, TVWS is said to have the potential to create more excellent coverage in the rural areas in both voice and internet connection.

Martha Suarez, the President of Dynamic Spectrum Alliance in Kenya, said that TV White Spaces could be used as middle backhaul. However, it must be noted that TVWS is not suitable for all spaces in Africa, Suarez stated. However, its broadband coverage is ideal for hard to reach regions in Africa and Latin America.

In a released statement, the Authority said that the regulator would assess TVWS at every model to ensure that it meets the Type Approval requirements before installation.  The Authority will manage the geolocation database, which will have the details on the location and operation of DTT transmitters.

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