Last week the Wall Street Journal reported how Google is planning to bring internet access in remote areas of Africa and south east Asia, well today Google has unveiled its latest project out of the Google X labs, project loon.
The project will involve sending up a huge number of giant balloons to beam down internet access to remote regions around the globe. Google says that balloons make sense for this purpose — they’re cheap to deploy and can provide wireless coverage in areas that would otherwise be difficult to serve due to geography.
Project Loon is very much an experiment that’s in “very early days.” Google says that it has already built the system, however, carrying balloon at 60,000 feet, providing internet speeds “similar to today’s 3G
networks or faster.” Balloons drift, of course, so Google says it’s using “complex algorithms and lots of computing power” to ensure that the balloons can move where they’re needed using a combination of wind and solar power — potentially floating around the entire globe at stratospheric heights.
Each balloon starts as an “envelope” that contains the polyethylene balloons and a 22-pound weight that contains all the computers and electronics. There’s already a pilot program in New Zealand with 50 testers — Google launched 30 balloons just this week. Google hopes to set up more experiments with time.