Google Might “Light” The Way For Broadband In Rural India

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UPDATE Google is potentially partnering with two local telcos in India to bring the internet to underserved areas. Android Police reported that the initiative, named Project Taara, will “relay internet signals through wireless optical communications links” (or light beams) to provide internet connections. 

Alphabet’s X lab created the technology, which has been tested in parts of India and Africa for several years. Now, Google is reportedly partnering with India’s two biggest wireless operators, Airtel and Jio, to deploy the technology, according to Android Police, to close the knowledge gap and digital divide in remote parts of the country.  

Google says its technology is suitable for irregular terrains where laying fiber cable can be a challenge. That includes much of rural India, where topography makes deployment costs prohibitive. The light beams enable linking to a connected tower up to 12.5 miles away with data speeds up to 20Gbps. The optical link uses the same principle as the usual fiber optics cable to transfer data using light signals, porting it into the wireless form, reported Android Police. One drawback is that the light beams can’t pass through physical obstacles. 

According to X-lab, using the technology works to enact “fiber-like speeds for internet without having to lay fiber cables” and “is super quick to deploy.” The technology can cover long distances and is less prone to failures because it’s wireless. X-lab believes connecting rural areas will help save lives. Android Police reported that it’s still not official whether Google will move forward with Project Taara in India.  

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