Google is bringing light-speed internet to Kenya
Google is tirelessly working to bring internet connectivity to rural and remote communities in Africa, the latest project being one that involves the use of wireless optical communication technology to delivers high-speed and high-capacity connectivity over long distances through beams of light. Google announced that it is working on its Project Taara together with Econet Group and its subsidiaries to roll out the wireless links across their networks in Sub-Saharan Africa starting in Kenya. It says through the initiative, it believes that it will be able to bridge the digital divide by delivering affordable high-speed internet connectivity to the communities.
Google’s parent company Alphabet, which is rolling out the project says Taara’s technology can be used to expand and augment existing fiber networks to bring the benefits of broadband to people that don’t have access to it.
Taara’s links will begin rolling out across Liquid Telecom‘s networks in Kenya and will help connect places where it’s challenging to lay fiber cables, or where deploying fiber might be too costly or dangerous — for example over rivers and across national parks. This is the first roll-out of Taara’s technology in Africa and follows a series of pilots in Kenya last year.
According to the company, a single Taara link can cover distances of up to 20 km and transmits bandwidth of up to 20 Gbps+ which is enough interconnectedness for thousands of people to stream YouTube at the same time. Taara’s units are placed high up on towers, poles, or rooftops to prevent its signals from being interrupted. The project is expected to complement Econet Group’s fiber networks which have proven to be cumbersome as digging trenches to lay lines can be time-consuming and costly, and tough terrain poses physical challenges that make expansion nearly impossible.
A networking hardware company, Cisco Systems projects that there will be 5.3 billion total internet users (66 percent of the global population) by 2023, up from 3.9 billion (51 percent of the global population) recorded in 2018.