Alphabet’s X Lab signed a deal with a state in India to begin delivering high-speed internet via lasers as early as next year, describing it as “fiber optic cable, but without the cable.”
Alphabet is the parent company of Google.
The technology is called “free space optical communication,” FSOC for short. A state-owned telecom company will work with Alphabet to install 2,000 boxes as far as 12 miles (20 km) apart on posts and roofs are expected to deliver connectivity to millions of people in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh by 2019.
“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,” wrote Baris Erkman, FSOC lead at X, in a blog post. “FSOC boxes can simply be placed kilometers apart on roofs or towers, with the signal beamed directly between the boxes to easily traverse common obstacles like rivers, roads and railways.”
The company has yet to explain how the technology will work in extreme atmospheric circumstances, or even a simple rainstorm.
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