A project from Indian institute of Technology, Bombay that enables broadband access in rural areas achieved worldwide recognition by winning the Mozilla Innovation Challenge. The institute has won $125,000 (Rs. 82 lakh) as a part of the prize.
In October 2016, one of the non-profit companies had unveiled the contest titled ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’. The main objective of the challenge was to create innovative and scalable ideas through which internet will be available to all. A total number of 100 projects from 27 counties took part in the challenge.
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The project of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, i.e., ‘Gram Marg Solution for Rural Broadband’ along with four other projects from various countries entered into the semi-finals in January 2017. The final result was declared based on online community voting that was conducted in Brussels on March 29, 2017.
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The project was helmed by Dr. Sarbani Banerjee, Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Dean of Faculty Affairs. The main objective of the project was to bring six lakh villages across India online. The project also involves the use of unused white space in the television spectrum.
They worked on the project for more than three years and it has been piloted in 25 villages so far. Prof. Abhay Karandikar revealed that Gram Marg project would enable the rural areas to get 5G connections.
The project was appreciated by the judges of the challenge. Mr. Nikhil Pahwa, who was one among them, expressed that through the Gram Marg project the rural areas will get access to broadband at minimal costs.