Microsoft plans to tap white space TV spectrum to bring free internet access in India

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Microsoft plans to tap white space TV spectrum to bring free internet access in India

Internet has become a necessity. But not everyone has access to it just yet. Take developing countries for example, where lots of places still don’t have the infrastructure to facilitate internet connectivity. Major tech giants including Facebook and Mozilla are now trying to get those people plugged into the web. The latest to join the club is Microsoft, which wants more people in India to connect to the internet.

One of the major issues in getting internet to the rural areas is the scarcity of infrastructure. That’s where Microsoft’s plan looks promising. The company wants to use the abundant and readily available TV spectrum to beam the data. It plans to tap the ‘white space’, otherwise known as unused spectrum, to bring connectivity across the country.

Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik explained the benefits of using TV spectrum for beaming connectivity. “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. This spectrum belongs mainly to Doordarshan (Indian public broadcaster) and the government and is not used at all. We have sought clearance for a pilot project in two districts.”

The company will first test drive the project in two districts, and if the results come promising, it will take the initiative further. If it succeeds, Microsoft will help Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India program of getting more people connected to the web.