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Alphabet’s X – The Moonshot Factory | FSOC at X

Friday 20 September 2019

X-The Moonshot Factory

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Established   2017
Graduated     not yet
FSOC = Free Space Optical Communications

The premise:

Using beams of light to support the growing global demand for data.

Global internet traffic is projected to grow 24% annually and users increasingly require greater bandwidth and faster speeds. While fibre-optic cable provides both, its installation is time-consuming and costly and in geographically rough terrains it can be difficult or impossible to use. As a consequence there is a significant divide in mobile internet speeds between the countries with the fastest internet and those with the slowest.

The project:

This project grew out of Project Loon, as that team used FSOC technology to establish high-throughput links between balloons. Like fibre, but without the wires, FSOC uses light to transmit high-speed data between two points, and the Loon team began to wonder: would it be possible to apply some of that science to solve connectivity problems closer to earth?

The outcome:

The FSOC team recently partnered with AP Fiber to help bring high-speed, broadband connectivity to the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. FSOC links will form part of the high-bandwidth backbone of the state’s network, giving them a cost-effective, quickly deployed way to bring high-speed connectivity to remote areas. The links will help plug critical gaps to major access points, like cell towers and WiFi hotspots, to help thousands of people access the educational, business, and communication benefits of the web.

Having succeeded in demonstrating the technology, the team is now focused on delivering 10+ Gbps connectivity over distances of 10+ km between each terminal, with capacity for rapid “out-of-the-box” deployment at scale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author
Alex Clunies-Ross, CFA

Alex Clunies-Ross, CFA

Head of Research

Alex commenced his career with Swell in August 2015 and developed many of the technical models and quantitative screens used to manage Portfolio investments and research. Alex directs investment team research projects in addition to his responsibilities for allocated investments in the Swell Global Portfolio.

Alex earned the right to use the CFA designation granted by the CFA Institute in 2021. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from Griffith University and was an inaugural member of the Griffith University Student Investment Fund.

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