Since the past few months, a small team from Alphabet's X has been working with the local telco, AP State FiberNet in Andhra Pradesh to improve internet connectivity in the state. In order to do so, the AP govt and the local telco are working on an AP Fiber Grid initiative whose aim is to connect 12 million households and thousands of businesses to the internet by 2019. To make the initiative successful, the AP Fiber Grid initiative will use the Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) technology developed by a team at X, Alphabet's moonshot factory.
AP State FiberNet has announced that it is rolling out two thousand FSOC links which will form a part of the backbone of their network. Alphabet’s X says it will be a cost-effective way of connecting rural and remote areas across the state. As per X, “The FSOC links uses beams of light to deliver high-speed, high-capacity connectivity over long distances — just like fibre optic cable, but without the cable. And because there’s no cable, this means there’s none of the time, cost, and hassle involved in digging trenches or stringing cable along poles.”
The FSOC tech was initially used in Project Loon to send data between balloons flying on the stratospheric winds. The same has been applied on land and as per the Alphabet X team, placing the FSOC boxes kilometers apart on high ground with the signal beamed directly between the boxes can “easily traverse common obstacles like rivers, roads and railways.” The combined initiative will kick off in 2018 and a small team of engineers from X will be present in Andhra Pradesh for supporting the project’s execution.