Project Loon: The future of Worldwide internet coverage

Sri Lanka is well on its way to having improved Internet coverage.

Google’s high-altitude Project Loon balloons will soon blanket the island nation with affordable, high-speed Internet. Government officials and Google executives inked a deal to get the connected balloons flying over the Indian Ocean in the next few months.

A specific timeline has not been revealed, but Muhunthan Canagey, head of local authority at the Information and Communication Technology Agency, stated that Google is expected to complete the setup by March.

Local Internet service providers, he said, will get a speed and quality boost once the project is active. Operational costs are also expected to decrease.

Google announced Project Loon in the summer of 2013, confirming plans to provide Internet access to underserved areas via the high-flying balloons. The effort started with a pilot program in Canterbury, New Zealand, with 30 balloons in the air and 50 testers on the ground.

By November 2014, the project had logged around 3 million kilometers of flight, and expanded to include 20 balloon launches per day. Just shy of its two-year anniversary, Google announced that Project Loon was almost ready for lift-off around the world—first stop, Sri Lanka.

In a recent speech, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera noted that “from this event onwards advertisements or headlines saying (Sri Lankan cities) Matara covered or Jaffna covered will become part of history.”

Samaraweera said he is “proud to declare that we are at the cusp of reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world.”

“In a few months we will truly be able to say: Sri Lanka. Covered,” he said, as reported by the country’s official government news site.

google_project_loonProject Loon is just one way Google is looking to expand Internet coverage around the globe. Last year, it bought satellite maker Skybox for $500 million to help improve its maps, but also Internet access and disaster relief. Earlier in the year, Google also bought Titan Aerospace, a company that makes solar-powered, near-orbital drones that can fly around for about five years nonstop.

On August 3, 2015, posted in: Blog, New Tech by

Tags: ,