Skip to main content

Google’s ‘Project Link’ brings internet access to developing areas

Google has launched an initiative to help increase global internet access through the establishment of fibre-optic networks in developing areas.

Project Link is first being launched in Kampala, Uganda, where broadband access is still limited to pre-broadband speeds. On the project's website, Google claims "By connecting Kampala to existing long-distance fibre lines, we can provide the city and region with a foundation for growth as we help people get online.

"Of the 7 billion people alive today, only 2.7 billion are connected to the Internet. For many who are online, inadequate or nonexistent infrastructure offers slow and unreliable connections. High quality infrastructure unlocks opportunity for the people of Kampala and its businesses."

Despite its seemingly charitable intent, the project is still primarily a business venture. Google will charge operators to access the network in the hope of building a sustainable network that is able to keep growing.

Earlier this year, Google announced Project Loon, an internet connection scheme that aimed to provide access to those in remote areas through using high-flying balloons. First piloted in the Canterbury area of New Zealand with 30 balloons in the air and 50 testers on the ground, the project gave people access to the internet without the need for complex infrastructure.

The scheme was criticised by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, however, who said that such initiatives were not helping those who were really in need.

"When you're dying of malaria, I suppose you'll look up and see that balloon, and I'm not sure how it'll help you. When a kid gets diarrhoea, no, there's no website that relieves that," he said.