The Wallstreet Journal is reporting that Google has plans to fund and help build wireless networks in emerging markets that aim to give over a billion people access to the internet.
Regardless of what you think about Android or any other Google product or service, one thing that is hard to deny is that they have always been a forward thinking company. In the same vein of trying to push broadband ahead in America with their Fiber service, Google now has plans to build and aid in running wireless networks in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
What this would do is connect a billion or more people who have never had access to the Internet before. As the world becomes more and more connected, one of the major problems facing us is the existence of a digital divide. Those without access to technology and the Internet are being left behind, so it would be significant for such a large portion of the population to be wirelessly connected to the rest of the world.
The strategy is aimed at covering those living where access is unavailable outside of major cities. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google intends to accomplish this by teaming up with local telecom companies and equipment providers who will work together to create the networks, as well as create ways to help maintain them. The report also mentions that Google might use some of their own technologies, though it’s unclear which. It wouldn’t be hard to believe it was referring to Google’s Fiber technology.
This information combined with Google’s recent efforts in getting into the Internet service providing business seem to indicate that Google plans on making this a large part of their company going forward. Reaching this many people would catapult them into being one of the biggest providers in the world, but it’s a bit too early to speculate on that. We’ll have to wait until Google actually comments on this and elaborates.