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Alphabet Project Uses Light Beams to Bring Broadband to Remote Regions


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Project Taara technicians

The Taara wireless link, visible at left, requires a clear line of sight.

Credit: Alphabet X

An Alphabet X innovation lab project has been working on a high-speed wireless optical communications network that uses beams of light instead of cables or radio waves, and folks in Kenya will be the first to benefit from the fruits of these labors.

Project Taara, a part of Alphabet's X moonshot factory, has been working on a wireless optical technology that could deliver high-speed, high-capacity connectivity to remote areas using a network of light emitters and receivers. The initiative has now partnered with the Econet Group to install its technology in Sub-Saharan Africa, starting with Kenya.

Rather than rely on cables to carry data, Project Taara will send information at up to 20 Gbits/second using a narrow, invisible beam of light. The beam is transmitted between Taara terminals to create line-of-sight data links.

The technology has undergone pilot testing in Kenya and India and will now roll out from existing Liquid Telecom fiber optic networks to serve remote areas beyond the reach of traditional solutions.

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