Nov 21, 2013 11:58 AM EST
Google has launched another initiative aimed at delivering high-speed broadband to remote areas. You might recall Project Loon, Mountain View’s hot air balloon-powered attempt at delivering Internet access via, well, hot air balloons.
Today, Google announced a somewhat less far-fetched approach in Uganda, where the company is gearing up to deliver reliable fiber-optic access to millions of people in Kampala.
“For the nearly 3 million people living in and around Kampala, the Internet hasn’t been as fast and available as it could be; online activity often sputters on pre-broadband speeds or unreliable connections,” the company wrote in a post to its Google Africa blog. “That’s why today, we’re announcing Project Link, an initiative to build a super-fast, high-capacity fiber network to enable any local mobile operator or Internet service provider (ISP) to connect more people in Kampala to a faster, more reliable Internet.”
According to Google, only about 16 percent of the billion or so people living in Africa have access to the Internet and many of them are getting online through a dial up connection. Google’s plan is simple: the company will grant access to its broadband network to local ISP’s in Kampala, who can then offer the service to their own customers.
It’s unclear what, if anything, Google will charge for the service, but it will be up to the local ISP’s to determine what their customers should pay for broadband Internet access. “Project Link’s network is available today to connect providers to long-distance fiber lines, equipping them with near-unlimited capacity to build and expand services to Ugandans. By making this connection, we’re strengthening a crucial piece of the Internet supply chain. Some parts of the chain are already strong: undersea cables are bringing data to Africa’s shores and mobile providers are expanding services across the continent. We’ve now built quality infrastructure in between these points to deliver the speed and capacity that supports the latest and greatest of the web.”
Google regards its contribution to Kampala’s broadband infrastructure as a foundation rather than a turnkey solution and hopes that it will help lay the groundwork for the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.
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