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Google X To Bring Rural India Online Via FSOC Light Beams

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Google's X "moonshot factory" has announced plans to tap light beams to connect rural parts of an India state to the internet.

The company tested this wireless internet technology in the stratosphere and it's confident that it can successfully deploy it in the Andhra Pradesh state of India to bring rural areas online. Andhra Pradesh currently houses more than 50 million people, and many of them don't have access to the internet.

Google Bringing Rural India Online

Google's X teamed up with AP State FiberNet, a telecom operator in Andhra Pradesh, to use Free Space Optical Communications, or FSOC for short, to deliver high-capacity, high-speed internet connectivity via light beams, even over long distances.

As part of this collaboration with Google's X, AP State FiberNet will add 2,000 FSOC links to boost its network starting in January. The project is part of a bigger initiative from the government, aiming to bring 12 million Indian households online by the end of 2019. According to X, broadband connectivity in Andhra Pradesh is tough to come by, and less than 20 percent of people in the state have access to it.

Google X FSOC Technology

With 2,000 FSOC links developed by X, AP State FiberNet will be able to improve its network's high-bandwidth capacity and deliver a cost-effective solution to bring high-speed internet to rural and remote parts of Andhra Pradesh.

Googles' X explains that FSOC boxes can be miles apart from each other, on towers or rooftops, and the signal beamed between them would not be affected by regular obstacles such as roads, rivers, railways, and other such, which pose challenges to traditional equipment.

"The links will plug critical gaps to major access points, like cell-towers and WiFi hotspots, that support thousands of people," notes Google's X.

Google's first tried out FSOC technology when it was working on Project Loon, its ambitious initiative to brig remote areas online though balloons at the edge of space. The company then figured out that FSOC technology could be a reliable standalone solution as well, so it fine-tuned it with tests in the stratosphere and it's now gearing up to bring it closer to earth.

This new project will kick off in 2018 and a small team of X experts and engineers will be in Andhra Pradesh to carry out the implementation. While AP State FiberNet is already on board, X is inviting other organizations to collaborate on further developing FSOC technology solutions in the future.

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