SBI in talks with Microsoft for White Space technology

State Bank of India is reported to be in talks with Microsoft to use the TV White Space technology to ensure seamless digital banking in rural areas, where connectivity can be an issue.

Dhananjay Tambe, the chief general manager of IT operations at SBI, told The Economic Times SBI is in talks with Microsoft for White Space. SBI deputy managing director and CIO Mrutyunjay Mahapatra has told Business Standard that the White Space is currently under experimentation as security aspects are yet to be established.

Microsoft has been testing the White Space technology feature in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.

White Space technology makes use of the unutilised space in terrestrial TV spectrum to provide internet connectivity in remote areas.

Microsoft says that around 100MHz is required for the roll out of the White Space technology. This will enable a bank, post office, small store or a self-help group in a remote area to provide Wi-Fi in their area by deploying the equipment and charging users a small fee for it.

According to Business Standard, SBI is experimenting with other technologies as well. In the initial phases SBI could use V-sat technology which runs the ATM network across the country to carry out digital banking. It is also experimenting with RF technologies to enhance connectivity. ''In rural areas, there is unhindered visibility, which is required for RF. It cannot work in urban areas as there are large buildings hindering incoming frequencies,'' said Mahapatra.

In a TV spectrum, the network leaves gaps for buffering purposes, which makes it similar to the wireless spectrum which is used for 4G. White Space broadband can travel distances of up to 10 km through buildings, vegetation and other hindrances.

Both Google and Microsoft have invested in White Space technology in African countries. Microsoft is heavily invested in the White Space technology area and has used it in various situations. Microsoft has listed how the company has deployed this technology during the Philippines disaster recovery after a typhoon, or in rural South Africa as well as in Kenya.