Microsoft is in talks
with State Bank of India (SBI
) officials on using Microsoft’s White Space “Super Wi-Fi” technology, which offers wide area long distance wireless networking over the old television bands, to bring banking to rural areas in India, reports Economic Times
White Space is currently under experimentation as security aspects are yet to be established. Microsoft has been testing the technology in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.
“We are experimenting with it (white space), but the security aspect of it is not established. We are hungry. In fact, Satya Nadella is also talking with us for Wide-Fi,” said Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Information Officer, SBI.
“We believe rural internet will propel India’s rural economy,” said Prashant Shukla, Microsoft India’s National Technology Officer, referring to a 2012 International Telecom Union report that said a 10% increase in broadband would increase GDP by 1.38% in low and middle-income countries.
According to Business Standard
, SBI is experimenting with other technologies as well. In the initial phases SBI could use VSAT technology
which runs the ATM networks across the country to carry out digital banking. It is also experimenting with RF technologies to enhance connectivity.
“The technology can quickly provide low-cost internet connectivity to underserved sections and also provide newer ways of livelihood in rural India,” said Prashant.
According to Microsoft, about 100 MHz is required for the roll out of the technology. The company has earlier said that 100 MHz should be made free so that anybody, be it a bank, post office, kirana (mom-n-pop) store or a self-help group, can use it to provide wi-fi in their area by deploying the equipment and charging the users a small fee.