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Telangana Government wants Google Fiber in the state


The Telangana government has apparently approached Google to send a team, to examine the feasibility of rolling out Google Fiber in the state, reports Business Standard. According to the report, the request was made by Telangana’s IT and panchayat raj minister KT Rama Rao, during his current visit to the US.

The state government also briefed Google about its Telangana Drinking Water Project, so that the search giant could consider using the same duct lines to carry optical fiber cables to every house. The Rs 25,000 crore water grid project to provide drinking water to all homes in the state, is expected to be completed by 2019.

Frankly, this is a very interesting initiative by the state, in a country where the TRAI defines broadband as a minimum speed of 512kbps. In contrast, the Google Fiber project offers gigabit (1000mbps) connections for households at $70 (~Rs 4,500) month, while providing free 5mbps connections for those that only pay the $300 (~Rs 19,100) construction fee. The company waives the $300 construction fee if users commit to a 1 year gigabit connection.

Other than this Google also offers a $130 (~Rs 8,300) per month gigabit connection which includes over 150 HD channels. It offers 1TB of storage across Google services like gmail on both gigabit plans and a network box to all plans. As for the free 5mbps connection, it only has an upload speed of 1mbps and is valid for 7 years per address. The company also offers business gigabit plans.

As of now, Google Fiber is present only in certain cities in the US, with Kansas City, Austin and Provo already wired, and Salt Lake City, Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham with upcoming connections. A few more cities have been named by the search giant as potential cities, but none of these are outside the US.

What remains to be seen here is, if Google will actually be able to deliver such plans in India. There are multiple issues, first and foremost is the scale of the project. While places like Kansas City have a population of about half a million, Telangana is home to over 35 million people. Secondly, paying Rs 4500 per month for a connection will not be feasible for most people in India and we wonder how many free 5mbps connections the company will be able to provide if conversions to its gigabit connections remain low.

However, if the company could change the speeds provided to offer something in the range of 10-50mbps for a reasonable price, the project could be hugely popular in this country, where BSNL still charges Rs 999 monthly for a 4mbps connection with a 8GB download limit.

Project loon: Earlier in February, Google mentioned it was looking to bring Project Loon, its balloon powered-Internet service, to India and was working with the government for the same. Project Loon is a network of balloons that float at about 20 km above in the stratosphere and aim to provide Internet access to the most remote corners of the world. Google teams up with telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum that enables people to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices.

Project Fi: Last month Google entered the mobile MVNO carrier field by launching a service called Project Fi in the US. The search giant tied up with Sprint and T-Mobile to use their network together with WiFi networks to offer voice calls and data. According to Google its network would utilize the best network available in the area from among T-Mobile, Sprint and available WiFi hotspots for calls, text and data. The network switches between providers automatically, and secures user data through encryption.

Image source: Flickr user Travis Wise

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