Google plan to launch WiFi networks in emerging markets will connect millions

May 24, 2013
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Google has been throwing a lot of effort and money into its Google Fiber gigabit Internet plans, having announced several cities in the past couple months that are slated to get the service. That won't be the extent of its dabbling in the territory of Internet provider services, however, if sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal are correct. Reportedly, Google plans to bring wireless Internet to a billion or so new users in emerging markets.

The sources are said to be individuals familiar with the matter, with the unnamed people saying that Google will both fund and partially run wireless Internet networks in emerging markets. Some of the places specified include locations in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, giving connectivity to individuals who can't access the Internet primarily only available in the large cities.

The plans reportedly also extend beyond that, with larger cities that already have Internet service potentially getting a Google-funded speed boost, although that was specified in such a way that it seems more of a possibility rather than a certainty. Although Google declined commenting on the matter, the sources say the company is "deep" in the program already.

The networks will be a multi-source effort, with word having it that Google's mission involves partnerships with local telecom companies and providers in the markets for network development. The Internet giant will also develop and provide business models for each network it puts in place, helping ensure they remain viable and run smoothly. According to the WSJ, it is not known whether any partnerships or deals have already been formed.

The information didn't stop there, however. It is also said Google is now in talks with regulators in South Africa and other locations, seeking to have current regulations altered to facilitate the construct of these networks. One such change being sought is permission to use TV broadcast airwaves in some of the planned locations for the network.

The Internet giant has toyed with the idea of helping develop satellite Internet networks, but such is only a notion at the moment. As part of the network efforts, Google has reportedly been developing cheap, low-energy smartphones running Android for the WiFi networks. In addition, blimps or similar balloon-like structures called high-altitude platforms are in development, and will be used for signal transmission over long distances in remote areas.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal


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