IT giant Microsoft has proposed a pilot project in Bengaluru to offer high-speed Internet deploying TV WhiteSpace technology.
Microsoft has similar Internet projects in other developing countries like Africa. TV white spaces, the unused portions of wireless spectrum in the frequency bands generally used for television, are well-suited for delivering low-cost broadband access to rural and other unserved communities.
For instance, Microsoft’s Kenyan mobile broadband project uses TV white spaces to offer low-cost broadband access to rural. The network utilizes TV white spaces and solar-powered base stations. This pilot in Africa, announced in February 2013, is part of Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative.
A telecom news report in Economic Times said Microsoft has submitted a proposal to the Wireless Planning & Coordination wing of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) four weeks ago.
“The idea is to provide cost-effective connectivity,” said Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik.
“I believe TV WhiteSpace can be the affordable answer to last-mile connectivity challenges in India, especially for remote areas that lack electricity and other infrastructure,” Pramanik said.
The TV WhiteSpace technology works on unused spectrum available in broadcasting bands in the lower frequencies from 200MHz to 700MHz.
As per the proposal, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft will utilize nearly 19 percent of spectrum unused by Doordarshan, the national TV broadcaster, in the sub gigahertz band. It costs less than Rs 10 lakh to install a WhiteSpace technology router.
The Microsoft proposal will be a big boost to BJP Government’s 1 lakh crore plus Digital India mission that is expected to connect 2.5 lakh villages and offer variety of e-government services. India’s Rs 20,100 crore broadband project aims at connecting 2.5 lakh village panchayats through high speed broadband by 2017.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who visited India soon after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, was keen to deploy alternative technology to provide last-mile connectivity to the national broadband project.