Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has announced a partnership with Indian operator Bharti Airtel to use laser terminals to transmit data through the atmosphere. The technology is part of a project called Project Taara, which has been in development since 2019.
The use of lasers enables Alphabet to overcome gaps in the ground network infrastructure. The Taara laser terminals serve as large optical receivers and transmit information through the atmosphere to another terminal. On one end, the terminal connects to a small remote network, while on the other, it connects to the existing network infrastructure of the service provider, acting as an ascending communication line.
According to Alphabet, this technology will expand access to the internet in places where traditional optical infrastructure deployment is difficult or uneconomical. Laser terminals can also be used in tightly-built urban conditions.
Bharti Airtel is the first partner of Alphabet on the Taara project. Over the next few months, the company plans to deploy Taara optical communication lines in rural and urban areas of India.
Alphabet claims that the Taara laser terminals are capable of transmitting up to 20 Gb/s of data – a typical passive optical network (PON) level deployed by broadband service providers. The company further states that the technology can transfer 30 times more data than is possible using a radio spectr. However, there are still potential setbacks to the technology, including signal loss due to environmental factors such as weather, air quality, and obstacles that interfere with lasers. The Project Taara team, however, has worked to mitigate such losses by modulating laser power and data processing adjustments.