Google parent Alphabet to deliver internet in remote areas in project “Taara”

Alphabet’s Taara project has so far helped to link up internet services in 13 countries including Australia, Kenya and Fiji.

Alphabet’s Taara project has so far helped to link up internet services in 13 countries including Australia, Kenya and Fiji.

According to company executives, The ‘Taara’ project is a part of Alphabet’s innovation lab called X, and was initiated in 2016 after attempts at using stratospheric balloons to deliver the internet ran into problems due to high costs.


Google parent Alphabet already tried and failed to bring internet access to rural and remote areas by using high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere. But now, the company is delivering internet service to remote areas with the usage of beams of light.

Taara executives and Bharti Airtel, one of India’s largest telecommunications and internet providers, told Reuters they are now moving toward larger-scale deployment of the new laser internet technology in India. Financial details were not disclosed.

Mahesh Krishnaswamy, who leads ‘Taara’ said that Taara is helping to link up internet services in 13 countries so far including Australia, Kenya and Fiji. He also added that it has struck deals with Econet Group and its subsidiary Liquid Telecom in Africa, internet provider Bluetown in India and Digicel in the Pacific Islands.

Taara’s machine is the size of traffic lights that beam the laser carrying the data – essentially fiber-optic internet without the cables. Partners like Airtel use the machines to build out communications infrastructure in hard-to-reach places.

Randeep Sekhon, Bharti Airtel’s chief technology officer said Taara will also help deliver faster internet service in urban areas in developed countries. He said it is less expensive to beam data between buildings than to bury fiber-optic cables.

Krishnaswamy was recently in Osur, an Indian village where he spent his childhood summers, three hours south of Chennai, for the installation of Taara equipment. He said that Osur will be receiving high-speed internet for the first time this summer.

In July 2020, Google committed $10 billion (roughly Rs. 82,046 crore) for digitizing India. It invested $700 million (roughly Rs. 5,742 crore) for a 1.28 percent stake in Bharti Airtel last year. X and Google are sister companies under Alphabet, while Taara’s partnership with Bharti Airtel is separate from the Google investment.

When asked about the downside of the internet as X and Taara push ahead with their mission to connect the rest of the world, Astro Teller, who leads X said, “I acknowledge the concept that the Internet is imperfect, but I would suggest that’s maybe the subject of a different moonshot to improve the internet’s content.”