Microsoft Plans to Use ‘White Space’ Tech to Deliver Free Internet Across India
Microsoft India is all set to provide free last-mile internet connectivity across the country. According to a report by Hindustan Times, Microsoft India is seeking approvals to deploy a project that will enable Internet connectivity using ‘White Space’ spectrum that is currently used for television transmission by Doordarshan.
The company has asked permission to initiate a pilot project in two districts, after which it will be rolled out all across the country. The chairman of Microsoft India, Bhaskar Pramanik, said that Microsoft has sought clearance for a pilot program in two districts for its white space initiative. White space technology has previously been deployed in South Africa, Ghana, and the UK, although to this point, white space broadband hasn’t been deployed at a commercially meaningful scale.
“Wi-Fi has a range of only about 100 metres, whereas the 200-300 MHz spectrum band available in the white space can reach up to 10 km,” said Bhaskar Pramanik. “This spectrum belongs mainly to Doordarshan and the government and is not used at all. We have sought clearance for a pilot project in two districts.”
The company said if the pilots are successful, the project will be turned nationwide and could give a huge boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative, which proposes to use technology to deliver authority to every citizen of India, even in remote areas.
“The challenge is the lack of digital infrastructure across India. This initiative addresses this challenge in a cost-effective manner and creates an eco-system that will benefit everyone, including manufacturers of routers and other technology devices, other technology companies, besides Microsoft,” Pramanik further elaborated.
However, the technology hasn’t been widely adopted anywhere in the world, but experts believe it can lead to a spurt in broadband connectivity in countries such as India. Engineers at Microsoft Development Centres in India have adapted this unlicensed technology for this country.