Google has received the government of India’s permission to start testing Project Loon in the country, under which the company will beam internet from balloons in the sky. The projects aims to provide affordable internet access without the high costs involved in setting up traditional infrastructure. Here are 6 things you should probably know about Google’s Project Loon in India…
20-kilometer up in the sky
Google’s Project Loon balloons float 20-kilometer above the Earth’s surface, in the stratosphere. Each balloon can provide internet to an area of 40 kilometers. These balloons remain powered throughout the day by generating energy from solar panels and wind.
Aimed at rural areas
Project Loon is aimed at increasing internet penetration in rural as well as remote areas; Google, however, will be only be a technology provider not the internet service provider.
Partnership in India
In order to provide internet access via Project Loon, Google has partnered with state-run telecom operator BSNL to share its telecom spectrum. It will use the 2.6GHz band to test beaming internet from the sky.
Google claims each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area of about 40km in diameter using 4G tech. To use LTE, google has partnered with telecom companies to share spectrum to enable people to access internet directly from their phones.
India not the first country
New Zealand was the first country to get internet powered by Project Loon, while Brazil was the second. Sri Lanka also gave the nod to Google recently and is expected to get 100% internet connectivity “in a few months” courtesy Project Loon. Indonesia is the fourth country to get Project Loon-based internet, while India will be the fifth.
Drones may be in the offing
While the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) gave the nod for Project Loon, it rejected Google’s plans to provide internet via eight big solar-powered drones. If the company gets the requisite clearances, we may soon have drones in the sky beaming down internet as well.