AP IT Minister Nara Lokesh on Friday said the state government is collaborating with the Alphabet Inc’s X to bring high speed internet to about 12 million households by March 2019 using a new technology. In a statement issued today, Lokesh said that the AP Government is making efforts to give high speed internet and broadband connections to 12 million households in the next one and half years and the AP State FiberNet is collaborating with X to plug loopholes and make it possible.
Alphabet’s X, formerly known as the Google X is exploring a new approach to internet connectivity in the state of Andhra Pradesh, which relies on light beams. Google X was the earlier name for the company’s moonshot division. Now that Alphabet is the parent company, this has been renamed to X. Project Loon, which is the internet connectivity project using balloons, is also under the X division.
According to the announcement by Alphabet’s X, Project Loon team has been working on a new approach regarding internet connectivity. As part of this approach it had earlier used Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) to send a copy of the film Real Genius across more than 100 kilometers between balloons.
FSCO technology relies on beams of light to deliver high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances, which is also crucial to the Project Loon. The project aims to create a whole network of balloons that beam down the internet and will be helpful in areas where connectivity is limited.
X says the FSCO technology is just like fiber optic cable, but without an actual cable. It claims this is better in terms of saving time, cost, and there is no need for digging trenches or string cable along poles.
In a statement, the company said, “We have been working with AP State FiberNet in Andhra Pradesh where less than 20 per cent of residents currently have access to broadband connectivity, so the state government has committed to connecting 12 million households and thousands of government organizations and businesses by 2019 — an initiative called AP Fiber Grid. Today AP State FiberNet announced that they’ll be rolling out two thousand FSOC links created by our team at X.”
Alphabet’s X says the FSOC boxes can simply be placed kilometers apart on roofs or towers, with the signal beamed directly between the boxes. A small team of engineers and experts from the company will be based in Andhra Pradesh to support the implementation of the FSOC technology in 2018. The FSOC links have can provide connections of up to 20 Gbps (gigabits per second) over long distances. That’s enough bandwidth to support to connect a cell-tower or other access points capable of supporting thousands of users at a time.