Microsoft to work on TV white spaces for Internet in Andhra

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Global software giant Microsoft will work with Andhra Pradesh on the TV White Spaces Project, a technology that uses unused TV spectrum to deliver low-cost internet connectivity to users.

Microsoft is implementing the project on a pilot basis in Srikakulam district.

The company has already conducted this project on pilot basis in countries like Ghana, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Singapore.

The technology utilises unused space in terrestrial TV spectrum to provide cheap internet connectivity to remote areas. This technology dynamically allocates unused bands to internet broadband transmission while regular TV transmissions go on uninterrupted.

By doing this, it provides opportunities of wide coverage and cheap license-free access. Unlike Wi-Fi that propagates to a 100-metre radius, TV White Spaces propagate the signal to a radius of 10 km or more, said a statement from the state government.

“We have been a strong advocate of TV White Space technology and firmly believe it can be the affordable answer to last-mile connectivity challenges in India,” said Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik.

“This technology can also be used during emergency or disaster scenarios. We are deeply invested in India’s growth, and we believe that technologies like TV White Spaces can truly support the government in realising its vision for a ‘Digital India’,” he added.

Microsoft, DOT, DEITY and ERNET are working with the state to bring low-cost broadband internet connectivity to four educational institutions in the district which had no internet connectivity earlier.

With Z.P. High School at Voppangi as the base station, the other three campuses were receivers located at distances of 10 km or more from the base station.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, later, interacted over Skype from his camp office in Vijayawada with students in four places.

“With this pilot, Microsoft has shown that innovation and technology can make a society technologically advanced, eventually creating a knowledge-based economy,” the chief minister said.

Anil Bhansali, Microsoft India’s (R&D) managing director and others called on Naidu here on Friday and discussed the company’s initiatives.

Microsoft has also presented the cloud-based Machine Learning solution that they have built in collaboration with the the state’s education department to help predict student dropouts. This is being implemented in Chittoor district as part of the “Badi Pilustondi”, a flagship programme of the government.

“This is a pioneering step undertaken by the government of Andhra Pradesh and Microsoft is happy to be supporting them. We believe machine-learning technology can enable both educators and students in making insightful decisions by analysing large volumes of data in today’s new mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Bhansali.