IT minister to meet Microsoft chief today

Discussion likely about plans for low-cost broadband connectivity to villages

GN Bureau | November 5, 2015



Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will meet Microsoft chief Satya Nadella today in Mumbai. They are likely to discuss the company's plan to provide broadband connectivity in villages. During prime minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US in September, Nadella had said Microsoft plans to partner with the government to bring in low-cost broadband connectivity to 500,000 villages in India.

Apart from the Minister, Nadella will also meet industry leaders like Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, Axis Bank head Shikha Sharma and Tata Starbucks CEO Avani Davda and other government officials.

Minister Prasad is attending 'Microsoft's Future Unleashed' event in Mumbai. Nadella, who is on a one-day visit to India, will deliver a keynote address at the event that will bring together 3,000 industry thought leaders, enterprise heads, developers and entrepreneurs.

The key point of discussion with the minister is likely to revolve around Microsoft's plan to provide low-cost broadband connectivity using the white spaces, a technology that utilises unused television spectrum to deliver low-cost Internet connectivity.

As per an official in the Communications Ministry, wi-fi has a range of about 100 meters, whereas the 200-300 MHz spectrum band available in the white space can reach up to 10 km.

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