THE tribal Harisal village in remote Melghat district, adopted by the state government and software giant Microsoft, is all set to have access to internet connectivity.
After the Union Ministry of Telecommunication gave its nod to import licence for TV White Space, Microsoft has provided the hi-tech low-frequency spectrum especially adaptable for hilly terrain.
At present, 350 villages in the backward and malnourished districts of Melghat and Dharni are totally cut off from the mainstream telecommunication.
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Speaking to The Indian Express, Amravati District Collector Kiran Gite said, “Microsoft has provided a truck load of equipment. It would open up the world of internet to the villagers.”
The high-frequency optical fibre does not work in this hilly region. As a result, the state government had to seek the help of the software giant to acquire the low-frequency TV White Space, which can overcome obstacles to make internet or radio frequency workable.
TV White Space or WhiteFi is the term for low frequencies allocated to broadcasting services for specific telecommunication uses. Almost nine years ago, researchers at Microsoft took the lead in developing these white space network,” said a government official.
To begin with, 25 villages within the radius of 20 km are being covered through this technology.
Once the pilot project is through, the government will extend it to other clusters of 25 villages in phases.
The state government and Microsoft had last year entered into a partnership to transform Harisal village into the country’s first digital village.
Government sources said the entire expenditure of Rs 1 crore for the technology had been borne by Microsoft, while the infrastructure cost for setting up educational, medical and internet units were being provided by state.
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Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The only way forward to root out the menace of malnutrition and backwardness of tribal villages is to bring them into the mainstream. The emphasis is on monitoring their progress along with provisions of education, medical services and employment.”