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​Free Spectrum Issue: Microsoft’s ‘White Space’ Project May Hit A Speed Bump In India

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The Narendra Modi-led government’s ‘Digital India’ drive aims at revamping the existing technological infrastructure in the country with that a much better one. And for this, we earlier reported that the government is open to projects like Google’s ‘Loon’ and Microsoft’s ‘white space’.

Read More: Digital India: Modi Govt is open to Google’s ‘Loon’ and Microsoft’s ‘white space’ projects

But now, an Economic Times report has revealed that Microsoft, which has been testing its White Space technology for bridging digital gap in India via Internet may face hurdle over the issue of free spectrum.

Earlier, reports have revealed that Microsoft has reached out to the Ministry of Telecom to utilise the unused airwave space for providing last-mile wireless broadband services across the country. And for this, it proposes to use the “white space” – the unused spectrum between two TV channels to provide cheap Internet connectivity to remote areas.

Microsoft India has suggested that the spectrum required for ‘White-Fi’ be made available free of cost for it to be able to roll out the technology on a mass scale. Clarifying that it doesn’t aim to act as a service provider, Microsoft said that it will provide local entrepreneurs with more power to offer last-mile connectivity in remote areas.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union Minister for Communications and IT, told ET that spectrum will only be provided through auction and no exceptions will be made.

Acccording to Prasad, “The government will not provide any spectrum without auction and the only exception will be for the defence and the security establishments.” But he added that the government is still looking into the proposal sent by Microsoft.

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