Internet major Google is working with the government on pilot project for providing internet connectivity by using large balloons.
Project Loon is a research and development project being developed by Google with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. The project uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 32 km to create an aerial wireless network with up to 3G-like speeds.
Google began a pilot experiment in New Zealand where about 30 balloons were launched in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority from the Tekapo areain the South Island.
The system aims to bring Internet access to remote and rural areas poorly served by existing provisions, and to improve communication during natural disasters to affected regions. Google hopes to eventually have thousands of balloons flying in the stratosphere.
Google may initially partner with BSNL for testing this technology by using broadband spectrum in 2.6 Ghz band.
“Google approached government to set up the Loon project and Drone-based Internet transmission. Government has approved testing of Loon project only as of now. A committee under chairmanship of Secretary, DEITY, has been formed to work on it,” an official source told PTI.
Google uses solar panel and wind to power electronic equipment in the balloon throughout the day.
The source said that Google may operate as technology service provider and not as internet service provider.
“The DEITY committee is looking at various aspects to facilitate test like identifying locations, coordination with various agencies. Under the Drone project, Google had plans to transmit internet on ground using 8 big solar powered drones but that has not been cleared by government yet”