X, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc, will deploy its breakthrough Free Space Optical Communication (FSOC) technology in Andhra Pradesh to provide high-speed wireless internet. The semi-secret research and development company signed an agreement with Andhra Pradesh State Fibernet Limited (APFSL) to improve fiber grid connectivity in the state.
This is claimed to be first of its kind association in the world to provide wireless internet connection at a higher speed of upto 20Gbps and to a distance of upto 20 km.
X will initially supply Andhra Pradesh with 2,000 FSOC links. X engineers and experts on site will work together with APFSL personnel identifying and selecting suitable sites for deployment of the FSOC links. It will also set up a local office with the help of the Andhra Pradesh government.
The agreement between the state government and X, formerly known as Google X, was signed during Information Technology Minister Nara Lokesh’s visit to X office in Mountain View, California. Lokesh, son of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, tweeted that X will be the state’s innovation partner, deploy its resources and team to help achieve the goal of Digital Andhra.
He said Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) will use X’s FSOC links to help bring fast, reliable internet access to more people across the state. According to an APEDB statement here, the IT Minister met scientist Astro Teller, took a demo ride on Waymo (X’s driverless car), and toured the FSOC technology clean room.
Lokesh said the state government is committed to bringing high-speed internet and broadband connections to about 12 million households and 130,000 enterprises by March 2019.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with APFiberNet on this promising innovation that could overcome some of the longstanding challenges of getting high-speed internet too hard to reach areas, and look forward to helping them make the benefits of the web more accessible to more people in Andhra Pradesh,” said Teller.
FSOC implementation in Andhra Pradesh will address the challenges of the river and railway crossings to connect those areas where fiber cables cannot reach. FSOC will also help to provide high bandwidth to telecom towers (presently on low data rate microwave links) enabling to upgrade from 2G to 3G/4G services. Andhra Pradesh has more than 15,000 towers without fiber connectivity and relies on microwave links to maintain voice and 2G data service.