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.
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.