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News Link • Africa: On the Map

Microsoft brings solar Wi-Fi to rural Kenya

• newscientist.com
 

GAKAWA Senior Secondary School is located in Kenya's western Rift Valley Province, about 10 kilometres from Nanyuki town. It is not an easy place to live. There are no cash crops, no electricity, no phone lines, and rainfall is sporadic to say the least.

"For internet access we had to travel the 10 kilometres to Nanyuki and it would cost 100 Kenya shillings [about $1.20] to get there," says Beatrice Nderango, the school's headmistress.

Not for much longer. Solar-powered Wi-Fi is being installed in the area that will give local people easy access to the internet for the first time. The pilot project – named Mawingu, the Swahili word for "cloud" – is part of an initiative by Microsoft and local telecoms firms to provide affordable, high-speed wireless broadband to rural areas.

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