Google has become deeply involved in a series of projects to build and operate wireless networks in emerging markets including sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, a report said Friday.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported the effort is part of a plan that could connect a billion or more new people to the Internet.
Google did not immediately respond to an AFP request to comment on the report.
According to the report, Google is "deep in the throes" of the effort to build wireless networks for people outside major cities where wired Internet connections are scarce.
It said Google plans to team up with local companies in some of the countries to develop the networks, and formulate business models to support them.
In some cases, the newspaper said, Google plans to provide its own recently developed wireless technologies to help such networks.
Google has launched an ultrafast fiber network in the Kansas City area and is working in other areas of the United States on creating powerful Wi-Fi networks.
The Journal said that in the emerging markets, Google is seeking to create an ecosystem using new microprocessors and low-cost smartphones powered by its Android mobile operating system.
The system could also use balloons or blimps to transmit signals for the networks.
The daily said Google has begun discussions with regulators in countries including South Africa and Kenya on changing rules to allow the use of airwaves reserved for TV broadcasts.