However, the task of keeping balloons aloft indefinitely is tricky business, so for its next venture, Alphabet's X team is taking the tech behind Project Loon and putting it in FSOC boxes that will be mounted all over the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. And that is what its latest tie-up with Andhra Pradesh is all about. X engineers and experts on site in AP will work together with APFSL personnel in identifying and selecting suitable sites for deployment of the FSOC links.
The deal was signed by Nara Lokesh, state's IT Minister on behalf of AP and Astro Teller, the company's CEO, during the former's visit to the San Francisco-based Google X. Vizag will be its first R&D centre outside the US.
Balloons positioned high in the sky proved an effective way of transporting data large distances, using an optical communication technology called Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) to deliver high-speed connectivity through beams of light.
X, the research division owned by Google's parent company, has sold high speed wireless technology to a state government in India. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Government of Andhra Pradesh and Google X in San Francisco, USA in such manner. "Our government has always championed advanced technology solutions for the greater good of the people of Andhra Pradesh and we are thrilled as APSFL and X are joining forces". The big difference with FSOC though, is that there is no actual cable, which means there's no need to dig tunnels or stretch wires across rivers or mountains. FSOC will also help in providing high bandwidth to telecom towers (presently on low data rate microwave links) enabling to upgrade from 2G to 3G/4G services.
Alphabet X will provide two thousand FSOC links, technology that is an offshoot of its Project Loon initiative, to the state. FSOC links can be placed kilometers apart on roofs or towers to transmit beams of light that deliver high-speed Internet connectivity.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh has taken up its flagship project to provide high-speed internet and broadband connections to around 12 million households and 130000 enterprises by March 2019.