Google’s balloon internet project might land in India to reduce the problem of low internet connectivity. Dubbed as ‘Project Loon’ the initiative involves network of balloons that enable worldwideweb access in remote areas. Todd Rowe, MD, Global Sales Channels Google said, “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”. He, however, said that there was no specific time frame for expanding the project to other countries.
Project Loon has generated huge interest globally as the search engine giant attempts to increase Internet connectivity using relevant equipment in a balloon. Aimed at reducing the yawning gap in the digital divide, the project was launched as a pilot earlier this month in New Zealand. As part of the pilot phase, 30 balloons have been sent up from New Zealand, and 50 test users were able to access the Internet using the access provided by the balloon network. The 15-m-wide balloons can stay in the air for 100 days.
Google Loon balloons float approximately 20kms above the Earth in the stratosphere and come equipped with computers, antennas and navigational equipment to provide internet access. The balloons are fitted with solar panels for harnessing solar energy. The balloons, which carry internet signal antennas float in the stratosphere, at a height twice as high as air planes. They are carried around the earth by winds and can be steered by raising or lowering them to a particular altitude, with winds moving in the desired direction. Special equipment that can be fixed on the roofs will communicate with the balloon, acting as the link enabling the user to communicate with the balloon.
The search engine behemoth claims that connection speeds will be comparable to typical 3G access provided by cellular networks. India has over 130 million Internet users, and nearly 900 million cell-phone users, an increasing number of whom are using their mobile phones to access the internet.
If the project does kickstart in India, I believe it will definitely be beneficial as there are some rural areas still don’t have an access to internet. Although some of the areas do use internet they still have to deal with low speed connectivity. Google has been focusing on India lately. The company launched ‘Person Finder’ web app and ‘Crisis Map‘ to aid Uttarakhand rescue operations. It also launched ‘Start Searching India‘ campaign aimed at simplifying Internet usage for it’s users.
Image Courtesy | economictimes