Nara Lokesh, Andhra Pradesh‘s Information and Technology Minister confirmed that the state government will collaborate with Alphabet Inc’s moonshot factory X to introduce high-speed internet for millions of people by March 2019. X’s newly developed Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) technology, which uses light beams will be used for this purpose which will provide incredibly fast internet without digging trenches or laying any cables along poles.
2,000 boxes which will be around 20 km (12 miles) apart from each other will be set up on post and roofs in densely populated areas around the state. This service will act as a strong mechanism to provide service to cellphone towers and Wi-Fi hotspots.
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 balloons are capable of linking directly with smartphones. However, according to X, they are meant for rural areas having low population density.
According to Alphabet, the owner of Google, improving the accessibility of internet in developing countries is extremely important for their rapidly-growing business.
According to a report by India’s telecom regulator, around 15 million people from Andhra Pradesh have subscribed for high-speed internet. By 2019, the state is planning to add another 12 million households.
X’s Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) technology is capable of transferring data at speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second between the rooftop boxes. It will facilitate thousands of people to browse the web simultaneously via the same cell phone tower.
According to researchers, this technology will be extremely useful in areas where connecting cell phone towers with one another is difficult and expensive. However, changing weather and misalignment between boxes could severely affect the connection.
X is planning to deploy a small team to Andhra Pradesh in 2018 to help in proceedings involved in rolling out the technology.