Microsoft chief likely to discuss hurdles in TV White Space project

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on February 19, 2017

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft Corporation

To address conferences in Bengaluru, Mumbai

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during his visit to India is likely to take up his company’s TV White Space (TVWS) project with the authorities here.

During his visit Nadella, will be addressing conferences in Bengaluru and Mumbai on Monday and Tuesday. He will also be meeting some political leaders in New Delhi.

He will be meeting Minister of Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss on programmes like ‘Digital India’ and Aadhaar-based services.

According to sources, Nadella is likely to discuss some of the hurdles that the TV White Space project has hit. The project hasn’t made much headway after its pilots in Harisal village in Maharashtra, Srikakulam (Telangana) and Varanasi.

The pilot of this project was completed last year, but after that there was no communication from the company on how to take this forward for the commercial launch, said sources.

“The pilot project was completed after the frequency was given for the test phases, but there was no follow up from either Nadella or any other Microsoft team,” a senior government official told BusinessLine.

The official said the technology can be provided if there is a value proposition but the lack of communication from Microsoft has raised doubts over its commercial viability.

White space refers to spectrum allocated for broadcasting services that remains unutilised. This spectrum can be used with low-power devices, without causing interference to the broadcasting station.

Microsoft has been pushing for deployment of TVWS technology to enable low-cost broadband internet in India.

The government has allowed Microsoft to conduct the pilot project, but the Department of Telecom (DoT) had not allocated the required 470-582 MHz spectrum band for commercial deployment of the TVWS technology.

DoT view

The DoT had taken a view that this spectrum band will not be de-licensed and the Centre will decide on pricing this spectrum. When asked about this, a senior official said that “there is no decision on using such bands right now”.

According to the DoT, such spectrum bands are only assigned to educational and research organisations to carry out experiments in the TVWS technology.

However, according to Microsoft, such technologies can be used for last-mile connections in India.

“I am convinced that TV White Space can be the affordable answer to last-mile connectivity challenges in India,” Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, had said in a company release last year.

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Published on February 19, 2017
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