The search giant intends to finance, build and help to operate wireless networks in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, Wired reported.
"To help enable the campaign, Google has been putting together an ecosystem of low-cost smartphones running Android on low-power microprocessors,” Wired said. “Rather than traditional infrastructure, Google's signal will be carried by high-altitude platforms - balloons and blimps - that can transmit to areas of hundreds of square kilometres.”
Google has a growing track record of installing its own networks; in 2010 it experimented with broadcasting data signals in the spaces unused by TV networks, and it has since expanded that programme to Africa. The company is also installing its own superfast fibre broadband network in the Midwest, called Google Fiber.
The new plans would help speed up connections in densely populated areas of African and Asia and get rural populations online for the first time. It would also boost those economies and put Google in an unrivalled position to act as the main access point to the web. Google declined to comment on the plans.
Although the web search giant’s roots are in software and coding, it is also working on a growing range of other new projects, including driverless cars.