Gram Marg is the brand name for the Rural Broadband project at the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay. Gram Marg’s vision is to enable Rural India digitally. Gram Marg literally means the ‘village road map - A road map to rural connectivity’ (www.grammarg.in). The project began its inception in the year 2012 with the quantitative assessment of TV White Space in India. In the year 2013, India’s first TV White Space pilot test bed was set up by the Gram Marg team. As a part of the pilot test-bed, seven villages were provided with Internet connectivity over an area of 30 sq km in Palghar district of Maharashtra, India. Department of Telecom (DoT), Government of India granted experimental license to IIT Bombay to conduct tests in TV UHF band and it is the first time that such experiments have been conducted in India on this scale.
Later in the year 2016, with a funding from Tata Trusts, the rural broadband project has been scaled to 25 villages covering an area of approximately 300 sq km located in Palghar district of Maharashtra. Unlike the pilot test-bed, the technology approach to connect these villages are TV White Space and 5.8 GHz in the unlicensed band. Tata Teleservices (TTL) provides bandwidth for the project. The project aims to establish one of its kind of network topology that will bring about broadband innovation through the use of frugal 5G by utilizing a cost effective, optimal mix of technologies. In addition to this, Gram Marg is also working on technology development of TV White Space devices alongside testing their feasibility of implementation and deployment on ground. The device has been designed, fabricated and developed here in IIT Bombay. Currently, these devices are in the prototype stage undergoing rigorous testing and experimentation on field.
In addition to technology development and deployment of devices on field, Gram Marg is also working on community led networks to answer the basic question of how can networks become sustainable at the village level. Social impact assessment is also an important objective of Gram Marg. Gram Marg has laid the foundation of Private-Public-Panchayat Partnership (4 P) model and is validating the same on ground for its sustainability by setting up Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs).
Project website: http://www.grammarg.in