Alphabet's Project Taara beams internet signals over the Congo River

American multinational conglomerate, Alphabet is utilizing its learnings from the scrapped internet-broadcasting balloon initiative, Project Loon, and applying it to its new initiative called 'Project Taara'.

Baris Erkmen, Taara's Director of Engineering, recently revealed in a blog post that the initiative's  wireless optical communications (WOC) links are now transmitting high-speed internet over the Congo River.

The concept of Taara emerged when the Loon team used WOC to transmit information between Loon balloons that were more than 100 kilometers apart. The team aimed to see how the technology could be used on ground.

As part of the investigation on WOC's potential uses, the team focused on bridging the connection hole between Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo.

The Congo River separates the two sites, which are barely 4.8 kilometers apart. However, internet connections in Kinshasa is significantly more expensive since providers are required to lay enough fiber to span 400 kilometers of land around the river.

Project Taara installs a link that can transmit high-speed communication over the river from Brazzaville to Kinshasa. The connections served approximately 700 TB of data in 20 days and with 99.9% availability.

Taara's WOC connections generate a high-speed internet connection by locating each other and connecting their light beams. Although it isn't suitable for use in foggy areas, Project Taara has created network design tools to predict WOC availability depending on parameters like the weather.

Mr. Baris Erkmen claims that better tracking precision, planning tools, and automated environmental responses are supporting Taara's links to deliver consistent high-speed bandwidth to sites where fiber can't reach and enabling to connect communities which can't access internet connectivity using traditional ways.

He further said that they are thrilled about this innovation and look forward to building on it as they develop and refine Taara's capabilities.

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