Google reveals India has shown a ‘great interest’ in its ‘Loon Project’, which envisages to provide affordable Internet access in remote areas through high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere. According to a senior Google official, the company may launch helium balloons in India after the experiment testing the concept gives positive results.
“Though we are still in the pilot phase, we have received several queries on the project and India has also shown great interest in the project,” Todd Rowe managing director for global sales channels at Google is quoted as saying. The official, however, did not reveal the time frame given to implement the project in India.
Google had recently launched Project Loon as a pilot in New Zealand. The company has set up about 30 helium balloons in New Zealand, where 50 test users are accessing the web through these balloons. Each helium balloon is 15-m-wide and is said to be capable of staying in the air for around 100 days. The project uses high-altitude balloons in the stratosphere an altitude of about 20 km (12 mi) to create an aerial wireless network with up to 3G-like speeds.
“Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. They are carried around the Earth by winds and they can be steered by rising or descending to an altitude with winds moving in the desired direction. People connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then to the global Internet back on Earth,” Google explains on its official website.
Despite being one of the largest Internet and mobile markets in the world, India still has a huge number of people who are yet to access the Internet. Though the government is making efforts to expand the coverage, Google’s Loon project could help provide affordable and speedy connectivity in remote areas, transcending the geographical barriers.