Antonio Manaytay – Fourth Estate Contributor
Miami, FL, United States (4E) – Physicist Albert Einstein hinted more than a century ago that light could be a medium to transmit electricity wirelessly. Now, Google is bringing that concept into reality – connecting rural households in India through its wireless internet technology using beams of light.
Google will be using its technology tested in the stratosphere, the Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) to provide broadband connectivity to some 12 million homes and thousands of public offices and private companies located in Andhra Pradesh state.
The tech giant through its “moonshot factory” X will partner with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet in setting up around 2,000 FSOC links scattered throughout the region.
“These FSOC links will form part of the high-bandwidth backbone of their network, giving them a cost-effective way to connect rural and remote areas across the state,” FSOC Lead Baris Erkmen said in a blog posted on December 14 in Blog X Company.
The FSOC links, he said, will be using “beams of light to deliver high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances.” The concept is similar to fiber optic cable without the cable.
“Because there’s no cable, this means there’s none of the time, cost, and hassle involved in digging trenches or stringing cable along poles,” Erkmen explained.
X and its partner telco, AP State FiberNet, would set up FSOC boxes placed kilometers apart. These boxes, serving as a point in the line, could be placed on roofs of buildings, and towers where the signal will be light-beamed from one box to the other.
Google had successfully tested the technology, known as Project Loon when it sends data – a copy of the 1985 film Real Genius – between balloons flying near the edge of the space.
“After seeing these results in the stratosphere we wondered if it would be possible to apply some of that science closer to earth to help us solve other connectivity challenges,” Erkmen said.
The FSOC lead said a small team of Google engineers will roll out the project next year.
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