In a recent blog post, Alphabet X’s research division announced that it has come to an agreement with Andhra Pradesh State Government to install its newly developed technology i.e. the Free Space Optical Communications,(FSOC). This mainly aims at high-speed wireless internet over long distances, similar to the fiber optic cable, but without laying cable.
This FSOC technology would help Andhra Pradesh state government to connect rural and remote areas across the state. The plan further states that Alphabet X would provide two thousand FSOC links to the state. They are placed in the form of small boxes that plug gaps to major network access points like cell-towers and Wi-Fi hotspots. Also, these FSOC links can be placed kilometers apart on roofs or towers to transmit beams of light that deliver high-speed Internet connectivity.
Sadly, only 20% of the total population in Andhra Pradesh gets access to the Internet right now. By 2019, the state’s goal is to achieve to let 12 million households and thousands of government organizations and businesses get connected to the internet.
For this, Andhra Pradesh’s vision is, “To establish a highly scalable network infrastructure, accessible on a non-discriminatory basis; to provide on-demand, affordable and end-to-end broadband connectivity of 15 to 20Mbps for households and 100Mbps to 1Gbps for institutions & enterprises by 2018, to enable realization of the Vision of Digital AP, in partnership with the Government of India and the private sector”.
Talking of Alphabet X, this is a division formerly known as Google X.They had first implemented their FSOC technology within its Project Loon project. Launched in 2013, this project uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of roughly 18 kilometers to create a wireless network with 4G LTE speed.
Alphabet called these FSOC boxes as a new approach to Project Loon. The company said its X division would also have a small team of engineers and experts based in Andhra Pradesh to support the new tech’s implementation.
Alphabet and Facebook are in the search for numerous technologies and models to extend internet connectivity to poorly-served parts of the world. In 2015, Google had also signed a memorandum of understanding with three Indonesian operators to extend coverage across the country’s islands and has also used Project Loon to beam Internet in Sri Lanka.