Google to Shoot Web-Delivering Light Beams Across India

Gwen Vasquez
December 16, 2017

For the last few months, a team of Google Xers have been piloting what Erkmen called "a new approach" with FSOC links.

Google says that with FSOC boxes, the hardware can be placed kilometers apart on roofs or towers, and the signal is then beamed directly between the boxes. This will be their first development center outside the United State of America.

Alphabet X, the company's moonshoot division, announced Thursday it will sell Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) technology to India's Andhra Pradesh state government to connect rural and remote areas across the state. This service will act as a strong mechanism to provide service to cellphone towers and Wi-Fi hotspots. The state government is snapping up 2,000 of the hubs, which rely on Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) tech, from Alphabet's X innovations lab. Andhra Pradesh had almost 15 million high-speed internet subscribers as of last December, according to a report by TRAI. There would be enough bandwidth for thousands of people to browse the Web simultaneously through the same cell phone tower, X said. Alphabet stated that the state wants to connect an additional 12 Mn households by 2019.

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Alphabet, which owns Google, and other online service providers view increasing internet accessibility in developing countries as crucial to maintaining their fast-growing businesses. However while researchers believe that the technology is promising in areas where linking cell phone towers to a wired connection is expensive and hard, yet it has not taken off because poor weather or misalignment between the boxes can weaken the connection.

Andhra Pradesh is now co-home to Hyderabad, one of India's most influential tech cities. The company recently expanded the program to Indonesia, too.

The agreement is basically a derivative of one of its undertakings, Project Loon which beams internet to Earth by floating balloons with the help of stratospheric winds, at altitudes twice as high as airplanes.

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