In line with the Digital India project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious e-governance initiative, Microsoft India is ready with a plan to provide free last-mile internet connectivity across the country. The plan is based on the usage of the unused spectrum between two TV channels, known as white space. This space is left as a guard band between TV nearby channels so that they dont overlap and create interference.
This space lying in the 200-300 MHz spectrum band will make it possible to communicate at a range up to 10 km compare to that of 100 m for WiFi. This spectrum belongs mainly to Doordarshan and the government and is currently not used at all.
White space technology has previously been deployed in South Africa, Ghana, and the UK but not in a commercial scale.
Microsoft has sought clearance for a pilot project in two districts. If the pilots are successful, the project can be quickly rolled out across the country and could give a huge boost to the Digital India initiative.
The ambitious Digital India project envisages providing broadband connectivity across the country by connecting 250,000 gram panchayats via optic fibre cables, thereby providing digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen, digital governance and services on demand and digitally empowering all citizens.