Google is making sincere efforts to make the internet available in deprived areas using its large party balloons that fall under its Project Loon. The company released 20 balloons over Australia and now has plans of putting 20,000 such balloons over Indonesia to provide internet in remote areas.
Google ties up with local carriers
On Thursday, Google informed users that it seeks to bring LTE to 17,000 islands of Indonesia, and for doing this it has teamed up with the three biggest cell carriers of Indonesia – Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata.
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Cell carriers will handle sales and billing, while Google will handle the task of pumping gas into the balloons and keeping them flying. The company hopes that its Project Loon balloons, which fly 20 kilometers above the earth, will provide internet access to some 100 million people in Indonesia.
The balloons move with the wind, and it is possible to arrange them to form a large communications network, using which telecommunications services providers can extend their networks. Before Google rolls out the product to consumers, it will test the technology with its partners for completion next year.
Google started Project Loon in 2013 with the hope of connecting people in rural and remote areas to the internet by making use of a network of balloons floating on the edge of space. The balloons make use of high-speed links to relay wireless traffic from mobile phones and other devices to the Internet.
Balloons a good fit for Indonesia
Loon’s project leader, Mike Cassidy, believes Indonesia is the perfect fit for Project Loon. Indonesia is one nation with limited internet connectivity and relies too much on satellites for it. This dispersed nation stands to benefit a lot from cheap, widely available 10Mbps connections.
Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands with jungles and mountains, so it is quite difficult for traditional broadband connectivity to reach those areas. Hence, it makes sense to fill coverage gaps in those areas with the balloons.
“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,” Cassidy said in a blog post.