Google parent Alphabet's X sells new wireless internet technology to Andhra Pradesh

Alphabet, Indian state partner to deploy new wireless internet tech

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. The state wants to help 12 million households and thousands of government organizations and businesses get broadband by 2019. The state offers its residents some of the cheapest broadband access in the world, and though India's internet connectivity numbers have grown substantially in recent years, many, especially rural populations, are still without regular high-speed access.

The approach is known as free space optical technology, which has proven hard to implement in the past, but Alphabet seems confident it has solved the problems.

Alphabet Inc's X research division said on Thursday that India's Andhra Pradesh state government would buy its newly developed technology that has the potential to provide high-speed wireless internet to millions of people without laying cable.

Balloons positioned high in the sky proved an effective way of transporting data large distances, using an optical communication technology called Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) to deliver high-speed connectivity through beams of light. "FSOC boxes can simply be placed kilometres apart on roofs or towers, with the signal beamed directly between the boxes to easily traverse common obstacles like rivers, roads and railways".

The initiative ties into a government initiative to connect 12 million households to the internet by 2019, the USA firm added. So now, the team's next move will be to put FSOC equipment in boxes that will be mounted all over the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It will facilitate thousands of people to browse the web simultaneously via the same cell phone tower.

Researchers have said such systems hold promise in areas where linking cellphone towers to a wired connection is expensive and hard. However, changing weather and misalignment between boxes could severely affect the connection. A small group of Google engineers and experts will work out of Andhra Pradesh to help roll out the project in 2018.

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