Microsoft to leverage unused 'white space' spectrum to deliver free internet in India

Microsoft is looking to utilize unused "white space" that exists between two TV channels to deliver internet connectivity to wide swathes of India. The software giant is testing the efficacy of this technology via a pilot program in two rural regions, and if found to be successful, the project will see a wider release.

Here's how Microsoft describes the technology:

"TV white spaces are the unused TV channels in any given market that could be used to deliver broadband access, services, and applications. TV white spaces devices and networks will work in much the same way as conventional Wi-Fi, but because the TV signals travel over longer distances and better penetrate walls and other obstacles, they require fewer access points to cover the same area. These excellent range and obstacle penetration characteristics explain why people increasingly refer to TV white spaces as 'Super Wi-Fi.'"

Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik talked about the benefits of this technology. He also mentioned the challenges relating to digital infrastructure in India, and how the initiative will be able to deliver a cost-effective solution.

"Wifi 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 and the government and is not used at all. We have sought clearance for a pilot project in two districts.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."

Microsoft's initiative is just one of many such projects that are currently being undertaken by the Indian government in its bid to provide internet connectivity to all regions in the country.

Source: The Hindu

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Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia for Android Central, Windows Central's sister site. When not reviewing phones, he's testing PC hardware, including video cards, motherboards, gaming accessories, and keyboards.