Google’s Loon takes flight

Written by on November 18, 2014 in News with 0 Comments

Sometimes the old technologies are the best. After 30 years of upgrades and improvements, trains in the UK travel from York to London three minutes faster. Several years ago an entrepreneur tried to get funding for a network of hot air balloons to provide better mobile coverage. Now Google has partnered Australian operator Telstra to launch the first test-fly internet beaming balloons in Australia as part of its Project Loon, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

A total of 20 balloons will be launched in western Queensland in December. Telstra will provide base stations for the experiment. Google aims to transmit internet access to remote regions via helium balloons that circle the globe on stratospheric winds – 20 kilometres above the earth. Ultimately Google wants to have a global network of balloons. If you are an operator you might want to repeat that last sentence in your head.

There is still two thirds of world’s population that is ‘unwired.’ With projects like this, and with many operators working on the same problem, the goal of global connectivity might be closer than predicted.

Another use for the balloons may one day be to provide coverage to areas struck by natural disasters. In any event, the technology will also enable developing countries avoid investing in underground fibre cabling. The first tests were carried out last year in Christchurch, New Zealand.

 

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