In 2015, Harisal, a small tribal village in the Indian state of Maharashtra, was chosen as the state’s first “smart village”. Microsoft, on the assurance given by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis chose Harisal for developing it as the first ideal digital village in India.As part of the Smart Village project, a variety of internet-dependent services will be provided to local communities in and around the village. These services will be enabled by AirJaldi, and funded in part by a grant given to us by Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiatives Grant for this purpose (link). A major component of the connectivity in Harisal will be provided using TV White Spaces Technology (link), a promising new addition to the “rural connectivity toolbox” which helps to overcome difficult terrains, thick forests and other obstacles that obstruct radio signals.
The grant will serve as the basis for reaching out to multiple locations in the district, with a special emphasis on hospitals and health centers, schools and nature reserves (the area is home to Magalghat (link) one of India’s largest tiger reserve.