Google’s Project Loon program is finally ready to take off on the next phase of their mission to help deliver Internet access to about 200 million people in Indonesia that do not have access today.
The Program Loon program will do this by flying clusters of balloons as high as 60,000 feet above Earth to help transmit high-speed Internet signals down to Earth at LTE speeds.
Google has been working with Indonesia mobile network operators; XL Axiata, Telkomsel, and Indosat. The four have signed an agreement to begin testing Project Loon over Indonesia in 2016. Only about one third of Indonesia is connected to the Internet.
Loon balloons act like floating mobile phone towers; flying on the stratospheric winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, each balloon beams an Internet connection down to the ground, and as one drifts out of range, another moves in to take its place. Loon can help telecommunications companies extend their networks; high in the sky, we can help overcome the difficulties of spreading equipment across an archipelago of 17,000 islands of jungles and mountains, providing connectivity to even the most remote islands.
“Over the next few years, we’re hoping Loon can partner with local providers to put high-speed LTE Internet connections within reach of more than 100 million currently unconnected people—that’s enough speed to read websites, watch videos, or make purchases. From Sabang all the way to Merauke, many of these people live in areas without any existing Internet infrastructure, so we hope balloon-powered Internet could someday help give them access to the information and opportunity of the web.” Google said in its press release today.
More information on Google’s Project Loon can be found at Google Loon project page. You can also signup to learn when it may be available near you.