After the launch of 4G services in India, another effort is being made to enhance our digital connectivity, and it’s called Lightup — a wireless transceiver that uses light to transmit data. It is basically a wireless feature, equivalent of fibre optic cable, used for internet connectivity. The project is being helmed by Bengaluru-based Lukup Media, a dual-play TV and Internet access provider.
Here’s why the product could be revolutionary, and economically-viable in achieving our ‘Digital India’ dream: It uses a setup of a network transmitter and receiver to transmit data via light, invisible spectrum of light to be precise. This takes anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour to install, and can be easily mounted on window sills, and terraces at homes. That means there is no need to dig your neighbourhood to lay miles of fibre optic cable. This will in turn save Internet service providers money that’s required not only to lay the cable, but also to maintain or even repair it. For these reasons, it can be easily extended to semi-urban and rural areas.
Let’s talk about what matters the most — data speed. It will provide 1 gbps of speed to your home, and buildings in the neighbourhood within a range of 1 km. So in this category, it can rival speeds provided by 4G services, which offer up to 70 mbps.
Since we are talking about invisible light, Lightup’s data connection remains unaffected by rain, fog and other ambient deterrents. Lukup Media’s founder and CEO Kallol Borah tells us, “Though we have limited the range to 1 km, Lightup will offer 99 per cent, if not 100 per cent, performance even beyond a kilometre.” Yet another inherent advantage is that it is environmentally safe. It does not work on radio/RF spectrum, so there is no fear of radiation. It consumes less power (18W), and hence is ideal for homes.
In the offing
We asked Bohra when would the product see the light of day commercially speaking? He said, “We have been doing field tests in a taluka outside Mumbai from November. It comprises 40 villages with 31,000 people. At the same time, we have started mapping Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. By mapping, I would mean identifying how many Lightup sets would be required in certain areas. Our product should be commercially out in the market by April. People can buy, and install it themselves.”
— Barkha Kumari