Bharti Airtel and Alphabet to trial laser-based connectivity in rural India

Bharti Airtel and Alphabet to trial laser-based connectivity in rural India

Indian operator Bharti Airtel has teamed up with Google’s parent company, Alphabet, to pilot the delivery of high-speed internet services across India’s rural and remote regions via a laser technology that uses light beams.

Developed at Alphabet’s California innovation lab, called X, Project Taara, as the system is known, uses light to transmit information at high speeds through the air in the form of a very narrow, invisible beam.

Taara’s technology could, it is suggested, help service providers offer one of the most affordable data prices per gigabyte to its end customers by eliminating the need for digging trenches or stringing cables along poles.

As the focus of this pilot indicates, the technology is likely to be especially applicable to remote locations. Indeed the system is considered effective in locations that are tough to connect using fibre cables or that are facing congestion on terrestrial radio network systems.

Line-of-sight communications are key. The company says that with a clear line of sight, its wireless optical communications technology can transmit data at speeds up to 20 Gbps.

This is apparently the largest deployment of Taara’s wireless optical communications links with a single customer in India to date. However, regular readers will be aware that it has already been deployed or trialled in Africa, notably by Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which has used it across the Congo River between Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville.

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