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Google’s Project Loon Wants to Provide the World With Internet Using Balloons

by Brandon Russell | June 15, 2013June 15, 2013 12:00 pm PDT

Life without the Internet is an unfathomable thought; by now it’s become a part of our everyday existence, almost a necessity. But many people across the globe—two out of three, according to Google—aren’t fortunate enough to have such unfettered access. The search giant wants to solve this problem.

As part of its Google X labs, the company is looking into providing the entire world with Internet access through balloon-powered technology. Called Project Loon, the initiative will find ways to overcome challenges associated with jungles, archipelagos and other geographical roadblocks where providing Internet access is too expensive. Internet emanating balloons could fix that problem.

“We believe it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below,” Mike Cassidy, Project Lead said. Cassidy explains the company has already built a prototype capable of flying twice as high as commercial planes that beam 3G Internet speeds down to specialized antennas on the ground. If you have enough of these balloons, more rural, remote and underserved areas could have a much better and practical way of getting online.

Instead of restricting the balloons to one single area, Cassidy explains the company has figured out a way to use solar and wind power to control the balloons’ path through the sky. The next challenge is managing a fleet of Internet-providing balloons sailing around the world.

Google has already launched 30 balloons in the Canterbury area of New Zealand, where testing and research is taking place. The search giant says that eventually it envisions a complete global blanket where anyone with a smartphone or other Internet-connected device can connect to the balloons. Check out the source link for more information on Project Loon, and watch the video below for a full explanation on how technology is being used to provide Internet for everyone.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...