By Alexandra Burlacu | May 25, 2013 11:41 AM EDT
Google plans to fund, build and help operate wireless networks in emerging markets from sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia.
The effort aims to connect roughly one billion people in emerging countries to the Internet, including rural populations, and speed up connections in densely populated areas.
The news comes from a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report on Friday, May 24, citing "people familiar with the strategy." According to the WSJ's sources, Google aims to use airways reserved for television broadcasts in some cases, but only if it has permission from government regulators.
The tech giant reportedly started talking to regulators in countries such as Kenya and South Africa about changing current regulations to allow for en masse building of such networks. Some wireless executives expect such changes to take effect in the coming years.
Google has been supporting universal Web access for years, and is now employing a mix of technologies amid the aforementioned discussions with regulators. Key factors in lifting economies up the value ladder include access to the wide pool of information available on the Internet and the tools to make use of that information. The considerable amounts of money necessary to build infrastructure, meet complex regulations or obtain geographical terrain, however, significantly hamper some countries' development.
For Google, meanwhile, the more people have access to its Search and other Internet services, the more benefits the company draws. To reach its goals, the tech giant is now lobbying regulators to use airwaves reserved for TV broadcasts, which can pass through buildings and over longer distances when at lower frequencies, the WSJ further adds.
Google is also working on a strategy to employ balloons or blimps to transmit signals from high altitudes over hundreds of square miles, as well as providing low-cost cell phones. The company already started small-scale trials toward this endeavor. Such trials include Cape Town and South Africa, where Google is using a base station and wireless access boxes to broadcast signals over several miles.
Google made no comments on its plans or the WSJ report, but the company's CEO Larry Page got high praise for his plans to use the giant company to work toward greater, non-profit goals.
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