Microsoft readies for Indian TV white space trial

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 22 December 2014

Microsoft is in discussions to launch a TV white space trial in India, using unused spectrum in frequencies used for broadcasting to offer last mile broadband connectivity.

"In a country of massive change, digital divide can pose serious challenge. In all the initiatives by the government — Digital India, Swachh Bharat or Jan-Dhan Yojna — technology has a role to play, and we want to be part of it," Bhaskar Pramanik Microsoft India Chairman told The Hindu.

The trial, in Bangalore, will utilise nearly 19% of spectrum unused by Doordarshan, the national TV broadcaster, in the sub gigahertz band, according to the proposal. In India, 93% of the 200-600 MHz frequency used for TV channels to carry data is not utilised.

"We are waiting for licence to start our pilot of the technology. Wherever spectrum is involved government permission is needed... We will start with IIIT, Bangalore. We may start with the campus, but want to take it to rural areas to see how it works with all natural barriers," Bhaskar Pramanik added.

Microsoft has already been involved in TV white space trials in South Africa , Tanzania , Kenya and the UK.

Around the world, governments and regulators are evaluating ways to utilise spectrum after the migration from analogue to digital TV infrastructure. Debate continues as to whether TV white spaces should be auctioned or provided without charge to those operators serving rural communities.