Google has announced plans to expand wireless Internet access in emerging markets, including sub-Saharan Africa
According to Wall Street Journal, the wireless networks would serve areas outside of major cities where wired Internet connections are not available. The networks would also be used to improve Internet speeds in urban centres, the publication claimed.
Google reportedly plans to team up with local telecommunications firms and equipment providers to develop the networks as well as create business models to support them.
Wall Street Journal said the company has begun talks with regulators in countries such as South Africa and Kenya about changing current rules to allow such networks to be built.
Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, public policy manager of Google South Africa commented, “The technology is well suited to provide low-cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure, and for expanding coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas.”
Google is currently in the process of building an ecosystem of new microprocessors and low-cost smartphones powered by its Android mobile operating system to connect to the wireless networks, industry sources said.
The company is also reportedly creating high-altitude blimps which will be able to transmit signals to an area of hundreds of square miles.
Meanwhile, it has recently partnered with O3b Networks to launch satellites that will enable telecoms companies to serve remote areas of developing countries around the world.