Telangana keen on FSOC tech from Google X for internet in remote areas

The Telangana government is keen to use Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) technology of Google X to provide internet access to people in parts of the state, officials said on Wednesday.

Google X was founded by the search giant in January 2010 as a subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. The first project started in Google X lab was the company's self-driving car.

Telangana could be the first user of Google X in India as state government officials discussed the proposal with Tom Moore, vice president at Google X, on the sidelines of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2018, which concluded in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

''We had very useful preliminary discussions. He is willing to bring that technology to India as a test case,'' the state's principal secretary, information technology, Jayesh Ranjan told reporters.

''They are inventing something where connectivity requires no Wi-Fi, no broadband, no wire, and is completely based on optics. Mr Moore is willing to bring that technology as test case to India,'' Ranjan added.

Though fibre optic cables are being laid as part of the T-Fibre project to provide fast internet to all in parallel with the laying of Mission Bhagirtha water pipelines, the government found that internet cables could not be laid at some of the places as water pipes were already laid. The government wants Moore to test Google X at such places.

 ''Since we have missed out on some bits, where the water pipelines were already laid, the optical technology of Google X can be used as this does not require a cable. This is something revolutionary in area of connectivity and be easy to depoly,'' said Ranjan.

''We have asked him (Moore) to showcase how this technology works in bits where we missed out on fiber. His team will work on the proposal and show. If that materializes we will be first user of this technology in India,'' he added.

Moore delivered the key note address on 'Connecting the next billion online' at WCIT. He said FSOC linking will help provide high-speed wireless internet access to millions without digging trenches or stringing cables along poles.

Also known as the Moonshot Factory, Google X had last year signed an agreement with Andhra Pradesh to deploy FSOC technology. Andhra plans to roll out 2,000 FSOC links to bring a wireless internet connection to the state.

The FSOC links will plug critical gaps to major access points, like cell-towers and WiFi hotspots, that support thousands of people.

Last month, Chaparai, a tribal hamlet in Boddagandi village of East Goadavari district, was connected using the technology under a pilot project.