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Google is using light beam tech to connect rural India to the internet


Google is preparing to use light beams to bring rural areas of the planet online after it announced to a planned rollout in India.

Alphabet’s X — the company formerly known as Google X — is working with a telecom operator in Indian state Andhra Pradesh, home to over 50 million people, to use Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC), a technology that uses beams of light to deliver high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances .

Now partner AP State FiberNet will introduce 2,000 FSOC links starting from January to add additional support to its network backbone in the state. The X project is aimed at “critical gaps to major access points, like cell-towers and WiFi hotspots, that support thousands of people,” the company said.

The initiative ties into a government initiative to connect 12 million households to the internet by 2019, the U.S. firm added.

The idea for initiative came after X used FSOC to deliver information for its Loon connectivity project which uses hot air balloons to deliver internet connectivity in remote areas. Baris Erkmen, who leads the initiative, explained the team later realized it could become a standalone opportunity in its own right.

X will deploy a team to Andhra Pradesh to work on the rollout. Erkmen said it is also open to doing deals with other organizations.

Featured Image: NOBUHIRO ASADA/Shutterstock

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