Microsoft to bring low-cost broadband access to 500,000 Indian villages

At a dinner hosted in honor of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined the company's plans to roll out low-cost internet access to 500,000 villages in India. The initiative will leverage the unused TV "white space" spectrum.

Microsoft tested a pilot program to deliver internet using this method last year, and is now working with central and state governments to bring internet access to rural regions. From Nadella:

We believe that lost-cost broad band connectivity coupled with the scale of cloud computing intelligence that can be harnessed from data can help drive creativity, efficiency and productivity across governments and businesses of all sizes.A key part of both Make in India and Digital India, bringing world class infrastructure into India, respecting India's digital security, sovereignty and privacy is a key milestone for us.

Source: The Times of India

121 Comments
  • Satya Nadella works hard for his country
    Good or bad??
  • good
  • Bad
  • When in India??
  • Good for them, bad for everyone else
  • Bad.
  • Good, he works hard for the world but 3rd world countries are stuck behind the rest of the world so they need special attention. Getting basic access and communication to the entire worlds population will help man kind in unforseen ways. Geniuses don't just come from first world countries, just think a kid in India today with no access to the internet could be capable of curing cancer or any other global problem, without access to communications it's unlikely that they would ever realise their potential. Personally I think basic access to the internet and communications should be completely free world wide, not via country specific programs and different services but a truly global network, we would for sure see a hell of a lot of interesting things come out of it, but sadly that's not the world we live in.
  • This is a valid point, but geniuses are one in a million. Mostly, broad access to the Internet just gives hordes of ignorant and fact-resistant people a voice. It offsets the gains somewhat.
  • There is always good and bad part of something. So why don't we let the one boy cure many others from his drug.
  • If geniuses are really one in a million then the odds are great in areas with high population. India is the second populous country. Therefore your statement is partially wrong. Don't get me wrong it's just my opinion.    Cheers
  • curing cancer!!! that's a bigge!!! lets for now focus on a short term approach..  getting communication access and internet.. in a country with lacky infrastructure.. where still in villages children have to travel kilometers to just reach school..   they will get access to technology like skype.. (kuddos microsoft) now where they spend hours travelling back and forth... plus many of childrens cant even afford it... will now be able to get basic education over skype.. no travelling,, no time waste..  atleast the level of basic education will increase.. they might not be able to cure cancer..but they have basic knowledge.. they have internet... lets suppose still they became farmer.. but they will be a more educated farmer than their parents.. so... it might be a small step.. but lets face the fact.. rome was also not build in a day!!!
  • *built.
  • They already have a cure for cancer - nobody cares as there's no profit in it
  • Are all cancers curable..?
    Are all stages of cancers curable..?
  • Not all, but more than one type. I'm sure we will see it fully cured within our lifetimes
  • But do they have a platform to use these services? Many villagers don't have a computer or a laptop, and smartphones are a rarity.. Will they be able to access them? Also will there be an encouragement to use internet for knowledge purposes and not just entertainment purposes?
  • Good if it's helping them in any way.... Bad if all they're gonna do is play candy crush saga...
  • Very good. I am really happy that Mr. Nadella is contributing to his homeland and that too for the Digital India campaign orchestrated by the best PM India has ever had, Shri. Narendra Damodardas Modi.
  • Its good...!!!
  • We will see brand new India in coming years :)
  • Coming soon™
  • Its Microsoft alone with India. So no Coming Soon Tm . Hope for better country
  • All hail Nutella!
  • Haha :-D
  • wen in india
  • are you blind?
  • Catch up.
  • Catch up to..?
    Stupidity..?
  • "wen in India" is an inside joke here
  • That joke is long stale...and is no longer funny!!!!
  • kudos Davis P B...!!!
  • Was it ever funny?
  • Some people did think it was funny.  That's why they keep repeating it for every article, whether relevant or not!!!
  • It was never funny, only irritating
  • Nice one.
  • well the conditions of basic anemities are still under development.. like sanitation and electricity
  • Internet will bring knowledge. Knowledge will bring empowerment.
  • Marketing sh*t
  • marketing sh*t!!! really?? so for u spending hundreds of thousands on a 1 min advertisement clip for marketing is a cool idea!! while doing marketing which will actually help everyone... ppl by getting access to internet.. and the company getting a wider customer base.. it rubbish? sorry shit!!!  
  • You just got brainwashed, I'm really sorry for you..
  • Internet is such a public good. Its no marketing or brain wash
  • Fool
  • ^This. Pick up the shit from the streets. Fix the damn roads, update the railway system, and teach Indians to be more civilized (bitterly biased by the India trading company incident all those years ago). India has a lot more shit to fix before they should be worrying about internet access.
  • I'm not really sure Microsoft cares about fixing those things. I am really sure they want to be able to sell their products to another billion customers, though, and that requires those customers to have Internet access. Anyone who thinks this is some kind of charitable act is blind. I am curious how they plan to power this broadband network. Electricity isn't exactly reliable even in the cities, and rural areas are far worse.
  • Dude u ppl are of those kind.. Who will never be satisfied in life... Means someone like Microsoft a tech giant can not build roads or schools for u.. But it can help u in digitalization.. Which they are trying to do!! And first of all teach urself to be civilized.. U r making negative remarks for ur country on a world wide level!! Dude..think before u speak!!
  • Which place are you from...and I'll tell you the shit your country needs to be picking up.  Quit bashing other countries and try cleaning up your own backyard first.  
  • india dude!!! india!! this shows ur mentality my fellow indian friend!! tell me what shit OUR ciuntry need to pick up??  
  • Hey Ayush, I was replying to Mr.Wpenvy.  Not to you.  You got me wrong.
  • ohh!! i am so sorry davis.. i got it wrong.. btw i like ur joke is too old n stale and no longer funny comment!!! well said bro!  
  • @Davis P B, if you're using the app use the @ sign or put the name of person your refering to. That will help remove alot of confusion caused by the structure of the conversation threads in the app lol.
  • @TechFreak1...it is just that some people fail to understand the indenting system for replies!!!  It is not very difficult actually. Edit: Oh Wait.  I guess there is a bug in this system.  This reply was not indented, even though I clicked reply under your comment. So I guess you are right.  
  • Lol.
  • Agreed
  • Ill tell you right now I hate the country I in, and it needs to burn. It's America btw....
  • I don't think the average citizen in India should go without internet just because they were born there and the government hasn't turned the country to a 1st world country over night. A person's intelligence isn't defined by where they live or in what condition, Einstein, Hawkings, Turing these are all people with "genius brains" that think/thought differently on a fundamental level and regardless of their circumstances it wouldn't have changed their natural ability. We need more people in the world with that natural ability, and when half the world can't even communicate that severely limits our access to those people. You should think of this as a benefit to us as without these kind of people, where would you be? Would you have the internet to read this article? Would the internet exist? Would we have NASA and by extension, MRI machines? The entire world will benefit from this, not just India.
  • You know nothing about international development.
    Education is the bedrock of everything. The internet empowers people to improve their situation in life to a far greater extent than all those things you just listed.
    Pro tip: Go and seek out knowledge before spouting shite.
  • The Internet is the bedrock of most of the bad things that are happening now with people. If in developed countries people stopped talking to each other face to face, are prostituting over the net, are spreading hatred because it's safe and easy - than sorry but I don't think it will do just good to a country like India. But that's just my opinion.
  • You have the free will to pick the good or the bad out of anything.  It ultimately comes down to personal choice.  Like they say, your true character is revealed by what you do when nobody's watching.
  • @Davis P B, well said.
  • @Davis, very true. I hate everyone equally.
  • @WPenvy...very sorry to hear that!!!
  • I've learned the hard way not to give people the benefit of the doubt. That's why. Being a nice guy all the time doesn't pay up.
  • I can imagine.  However it is possible that you come across people who just don't deserve your hatred!!
  • Good people and bad people....
  • Your comment shows your countries shi* and your upbringing. First use your brain, if you have it.
  • That 'shit' is better, than not knowing who your real dad is. Manners and culture are two things I can clearly see lacking in your country (by just reading your comment).
    First you fix the damn racism, update your orthodox thinking,
    And if you call yourself civilized..........then I better remain uncivilized.
  • That all government's role not MS's... Its good that MS is contributing as part of Corporate Social Responsibility.... Also dont foreget Bill Gates' foundation...puting his own personal money to eradicate malariay and AIDS and other basic needs.... Nowadays internet is part of the basic human needs.
  • Namo
  • Wen in India?
  • Can you stop that stale joke? Thanks.
  • It is good for all parties. A brilliant strategy to build up trust and love for Microsoft in a market which could be hugely beneficial in years to come, due to the rapid growth of India's economy.
  • Good guy Microsoft and Google today. Facebook will come up with something next week. Meanwhile at Apple...................crickets.
  • At Blackberry......bzzzz.....bzzz....SPAT... Ehhmm...ehhmm...cough
  • Apples tim cook meeting with our PM was just a formality. We know those ppl at apple only make devices and they wont contribute towards the development. Even if they fucking charge a high price like for their toypads.
  • "Lost-cost"? I hope the original PR message didn't put it like that. On a more serious note, initiatives to bring internet access to places that need it, but cannot afford it, is great. One can hope that it will help people communicate better and easier with chat, voice and such, getting better reception and more stable access than current cellular coverage offers. Also, offer new ways for the people to self-educate themselves on the web and just not feel left out of the internet era is great. There are other positive effects that this initiative may bring, too, I'm sure. Here's hoping they will be prepared with devices as well so that they can actually use the services.
  • we can buy a android phone (chinese manufactured) in just a rs.1500 now a days!!! its basic!!! no need of iphone or s6
  • Sunn bhai Ayush, apni grammar/punctuation sudhar le, uske baad ladte rahio.
  • Hmm...a coded msg for non indians :'D
  • Lol.
    Tabse kuch bhi likhe jaa raha hai. But bolna apna faarz hai. Kyuki hame iss jagh ka 'anubhav' hai.
  • Aman Bhai, Google translate ke bare me suna hai kya. 
  • Hindi english mein likhi hui, aurr normal Hindi mein difference hai. Aurr sab logg translate karna ki mehnat naa karte.....
  • Aapki vishwas aapki raksha kare!!!  LOL!!
  • Karde toh badiya hai.....
  • Yeh, a or an ka difference ek din duniya ko le dubega . Achha Hua yaha voice message nahi chalte ,warna ye log 2-3 lallu Yadav ke area ke pakad kar daily unke accent ka mjak udate :P
  • ROFL. LOL.
    Point hai.
  • India is the second biggest market after USA for US tech companies.
  • It's great to have an initiative. At least something is better than nothing.
  • "मोदी जी का प्रभाव......All tec. Companies are supporting Digital India campaign.....see Mark zuckerbergs FB DP & Google search page....."
  • Hmm...just thinking...are other countries feeling insecure or embarrassed??
  • 'All tech companies'....Pehle 3 words he galat hai........
  • Let them learn buddy :)
  • Not 'all' but 'some'......
  • Palsana-Gujarat
  • When?
    I know it will happen in the last year of Bjp government..
  • For those who are criticizing India on issues like Electricity supply and water supply,I would like to drop my two pennies of thought here. I am a common man from India,from a humble family background,I have been witnessing all the drastic changes this country has been going through and sure the heck,I had no complaints about electricity supplying In more than last one decade. We surely have access to Electricity and other basic needs of the life but what I think about Microsoft's deliberate effort is gaining its access to 1.2 bn citizens of India,and of course their ulterior motive is to connect the billions of unconnected Indians for the first phase and then trying to sell their services and products for the latter part. No one can neglect the huge potential of the second most populous nation.
  • And the Reliance Jio is debuting it's LTE services this fall and they're offering a LTE enabled smartphone for just $ 50. So sure the heck,I see it as a feasible project and there will not be any issues related to availability or affordability.
  • Microsoft and google have a tuff job to do first. A bit difficult job for Microsoft bcoz in villages ppl still don't have 24hrs electricity supply so internet adoption would be slow in those remote villages. Google still I guess has a benefit of 400 railway station getting internet access bcoz at railway stations there are less problems of electricity.
  • The networks will be clogged on the opening days..!!
  • In Kashmir they shut internet service for 3 days
  • Just 3? Because of that Patel Exodus,Gujarat suffered from a 9 days ban on the internet,that's not the first time though. It's 4th time for us People of Baroda and my point is that nothing is impossible in this era of technology,they could have suspended social media services rather than curbing on the whole web network.
  • This should help accelerate connectivity however what kind of speeds will they get? Certain sites just timeout completely if the load time is ridiculously long.    
  • That's great! Meanwhile, there is still no internet access in my town in the United States.
  • My sitiuation is a step up from yours, but not at all ideal! I live in a very heavily populated rural area in the Northeast United States. I'm probably the only person in history to wish that I could get Comcast where I live! My only options are a local cable company (which is what I use), or very slow DSL. The (cable) service is OK, the speed is OK, but the cost is very high.
  • Still can't believe what I just read!
  • Did you just said United States !!!
  • The news is more than a day late...speed up Windows Central
  • I hope Ms brings this tech first in my state. I'll be the first customer
  • Is that 'Microsoft House' in the picture?
  • Microsoft announcement is not new its announced almost a year back... Internet using white space spectrum... Just for local political image indian PM projecting it. And for azure datacenter in india microsoft using this opportunity as mass marketing... That's it...
  • Ahem Ahem.........Congresssies also use Windows Central.lmao Pappu gave you permission to come here after watching Dragon Ball-Z!!! lolzzz
  • Kya hai ye..? Sansad chal ri idhar..?
  • You go where there are opportunities. It's absolutely good. Buying and creating new businesses is good. Shrinking or selling assets and business units is bad.
  • #MakeIndia before making in India
  • Nice try, Kejriwal.
  • How many villages are in India, by the way? I thought 500,000 was a typo initially.
  • Way more than that!
  • Actually 600,000+
  • Why does anyone say this is a bad thing? Improving communications is good for anyone, no matter what country he or she resides in. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So happy that MS is supporting and contributing to the Digital India campaign which will revolutionise India. 
  • He is to focused on India. They're other emerging markets that could use some attention. His global push should represent his diversity mantra and not one that is Indian centric.
    ...
    But congrats to those many villages. Hopefully it won't take years upon years to accomplish.
  • Any word on when this is going to be brought to the states?