Google to bankroll, build wireless networks across Africa: WSJ

Fri May 24, 2013 5:51pm EDT

Coffee cups with Google logos are seen at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Coffee cups with Google logos are seen at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

Related Topics

(Reuters) - Google Inc intends to finance, build and help operate wireless networks from sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia, hoping to connect a billion or so people in emerging countries to the Internet, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The Internet search giant - which has for years espoused universal Web access - is employing a patchwork quilt of technologies and holding discussions with regulators from South Africa to Kenya, the WSJ cited people familiar with the strategy as saying.

Access to the vast trove of information on the Internet, and the tools to make use of it, is considered key to lifting economies up the value chain. But countries are often hampered by the vast sums needed to build infrastructure, thorny regulations or geographical terrain.

To reach its goal, Google, which benefits the more people have access to its search and other Internet services, is lobbying regulators to use airwaves reserved for television broadcasts, which at lower frequencies can pass through buildings and over longer distances, the WSJ reported.

It is also working on providing low-cost cellphones and employing balloons or blimps to transmit signals over hundreds of square miles from high altitudes.

The company has already begun several small-scale trials, including in Cape Town, South Africa, where it is using a base station in conjunction with wireless access boxes to broadcast signals over several miles, the newspaper reported.

Chief Executive Larry Page has made no secret of his plans to use his company to work toward broader, non-profit goals. Google on Friday declined to comment on its plans.

(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
ThurstonIII wrote:
great, now I can establish a resource extraction enterprise with my robotic equipment and have webcam surveillance.

May 25, 2013 10:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Why not start in the States? Just what we need is more email paypal scammers!!!!

May 25, 2013 10:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
thehindmost wrote:
They are working on this in the states Ralf_Inyoumouth, look at Google Fiber. They’re slowing spreading that out at a ridiculously cheap price, making serious attempts to get this going in all major American cities, AND forcing the competition like Comcast and AT&T to either get with the change or die off like a dinosaur.

May 25, 2013 6:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.