Anujeet MajumdarNov 21, 2013 15:50:17 IST
Google has launched a new initiative, called Project Link, focused at increasing Internet penetration and access to developing areas across the world. The project will see the search giant building fibre optic networks in areas that don’t have access to fast and reliable Internet. These fibre-optic networks will basically help to connect existing, local networks to undersea long-distance fibre lines that carry the Internet and run between continents. This is not the first time Google has tried to increase the penetration of the Internet across the world, though. An earlier project, titled Project Loon, saw the company making use of helium balloons that float 20 km above the Earth's surface.
The first Project Link network has already been set up in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and the grid continues to expand, according to the official Google Africa blog. Breaking down the numbers, Google says that only 16 percent of the population of Africa currently has access to the Internet. Project Link’s network, according to the post, will give providers nearly-unlimited capacity to build and expand services to Ugandans. India, too, can benefit immensely from this project. While the country is expected to overtake the US as the second largest Internet population in the world, a vast majority of the masses still do not have Internet due to poor access. Take a look at what Google has in mind for Kampala:
Google says that Project Link will go beyond just providing basic Internet access. It will enable local providers to offer new mobile data plans or high-speed Internet for office buildings and universities. The initiative will also help providers support newer technologies as they come to that market. There is a business model for Project Link though. In an emailed statement to the Verge, Google says that it will charge local operators to integrate with its network, providing funding towards the growth of the project.
According to a Google spokesperson, “We want this to be a sustainable model that can grow to reach most people. To do that, we are taking a business approach and making the network available to any and all mobile operators or ISPs in the region who want to sign on as customers.” The company says that it chose Kampala for the first Project Link network because poor Internet access is holding its businesses and citizens’ back, despite being a bustling city.
“Kampala…is a very young city with a burgeoning tech, business and even jazz scene. High-speed broadband can help propel all these things forward,” according to the official statement. Google has still not revealed where it plans to take Project Link yet, but says that it’s “a promising model for other African cities.” The initiative’s website, though, seems to suggest that the company may not limit itself to just Africa, focusing instead on any area where Project Link may find scope.
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