Internet connectivity has become a crucial aspect of modern life. However, a significant portion of the global population still lacks reliable and affordable internet services. To combat this digital divide, ThinkWiFi, an African-based internet service provider (ISP), has partnered with Mawingu, a Microsoft-backed ISP, to launch an innovative outdoor Telecom Infra Project (TIP) OpenWiFi network in Kenya.

What sets this project apart is that it’s built on an advertising-based model, which is a first for a TIP OpenWiFi network. The network’s funding is based on advertising revenue, which allows everyone to access the Wi-Fi network for free. This creates a win-win situation for all parties involved, where advertisers gain access to high-growth consumer segments, while consumers enjoy uncapped, high-speed connectivity. Additionally, the community benefits from unrestricted access to the digital economy.

Managed from ThinkWiFi’s headquarters in South Africa, the Wi-Fi network employs TIP OpenWiFi certified hardware and software, including access points from Edgecore and CIG, and cloud controller Wavespot. The network operates on top of Mawingu’s infrastructure, providing seamless connectivity to the underserved communities.

ThinkWiFi’s OpenWiFi network joins other service providers in rolling out internet in places such as city centers, transit and tourist hubs, as well as retail malls in Kenya and South Africa. Additionally, the network is expected to cover a number of public service and healthcare facilities through collaboration and partnership with public organizations.

TIP OpenWiFi is an open-source Wi-Fi architecture that enables multi-vendor, interoperable Wi-Fi networks. This means that ThinkWiFi can mix and match access points and controllers from any TIP OpenWiFi compliant manufacturer, and developers can quickly create new applications since it’s open source.

The project’s true beauty is its ability to demonstrate how TIP OpenWiFi is the most innovative connectivity solution on the market today. The open-source architecture, with a number of vendors supplying hardware, can be optimized to reach amazing speeds without vendor lock-in. Moreover, funding the network through advertising makes community connectivity widely available, and as OpenWiFi already offers a much lower total cost of ownership, it’s an effective way to build affordable Wi-Fi networks in city centers.