Google Announces ‘Project Loon’, Giant Balloons For Affordable Internet
Google has a truly sky-high idea for connecting billions of people to the internet – 19 kilometres in the air to be exact – through giant helium balloons circling the globe that are equipped to beam Wi-Fi signals down below.
According to Google, two of every three individuals on Earth either do not have access to the Internet, or don’t have access to a connection that is both fast and within their financial means – in some areas, individuals are faced with prices equal to more than a month’s paycheck. This issue isn’t going to resolve itself without thinking outside of the box, according to the company, and that is where the balloons come in. It was the culmination of 18 months’ work on what Google calls Project Loon.
In addition to providing access to the two out of every three people on earth Google says don’t have access to affordable broadband, another goal of the Google[x] team behind Project Loon is to help with maintaining communications following natural disasters.
The solar-powered, remote-controlled balloons would navigate stratospheric winds 20 kilometers above the surface of the earth, well above the altitude where most planes travel. Similar to the way satellite internet works, the balloons would communicate with special antennas and receiver stations on the ground.
The balloons also represent another of Google’s forays into the telecommunications business. The company has been setting up Google Fibre internet connections in Kansas City, Austin, Texas and elsewhere that offer speeds 100 times faster than what most consumers have today.
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