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This article was published on November 11, 2014


Microsoft wants to tap unused TV spectrum to bring internet access across India

Microsoft wants to tap unused TV spectrum to bring internet access across India
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
Story by

Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

It seems like everyone’s racing to bring internet access to offline users around the world: Facebook is working with Internet.org in Africa, and Mozilla has teamed up with the GSMA in Bangladesh and Brazil. Up next is Microsoft, with its vision to bring widespread Web access to India with an already available resource: the TV spectrum.

Microsoft’s plan is to tap the unused spectrum between TV channels, known as ‘whitespace‘, to bring connectivity across the country.

Speaking to national daily Hindustan Times, Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik explained, “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.”

If the pilot projects go as planned, Microsoft’s initiative could be rolled out across the country and help Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India program move forward and enable governance for all citizens in India.