High Speed Internet Via Airborne Beams Of Light

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High Speed Internet Via Airborne Beams Of Light
06 Oct 2021
6 min read
TWN In-Focus

News Synopsis

The best and cheap way of delivering high-speed internet via beams of light through the air has successfully transmitted data across the Congo River. It means that citizens in Brazzaville and Kinshasa could get faster and cheaper broadband. The cities lie only three miles apart but connecting them is tricky and difficult because traditional cable has to be routed around the river, making broadband prices five to six times more expensive.

It is the latest iteration of the project which has been in development for three years. The system uses very narrowly, invisible beams of light to deliver high speeds, similar to the way traditional fiber in the ground uses light to carry data but without the cable casing.

The technology, known as Free Space Optical Communications, grew out of experiments the team had previously used to beam lasers between balloons in Project Loon, which was shut down by Alphabet in February because it was no longer seen as commercially viable. It is not ideal and the team admits it will not offer full reliability in challenging conditions, such as fog, haze, or when birds fly in front of the signal.

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