Loon for all.
Google Inc has piloted a program, named Project Loon, which is aimed at bringing a reliable internet connection to the most remote regions on earth. The company has launched a small network of balloons over the Southern Hemisphere to start the testing.
The program started this month; the location being the Canterbury area of New Zealand’s South Island. The company are using high-altitude solar-powered balloons that ride the wind about 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) above the ground; that’s twice the height a commercial airline flies.
Project Loon uses algorithms to determine where the balloons need to go, then moves them into winds blowing in the desired direction and by doing so, the balloons then form a network of hot spots that can provide Internet access over a broad area. Using radio frequency bands, the connection is comparable to a 3G connection, Google has said.
To connect to this network in the sky, an Internet antenna is attached to buildings below on the ground.
The internet giant announced the project on its official blog here, and its website www.google.com/loon/ where you can follow all that’s going on and gain some insight into what the future holds for Project Leader Mike Cassidy’s baby.
The 30 balloons deployed in New Zealand so far this month will beam an Internet service to a small pilot group of testers and will be used to refine the technology and stear the next phase of the project.
Google did not say, however, what the cost of the pilot was or how much a projected, global network of balloons might cost.
Google are wanting to hear feedback and really can’t wait to find partners for the next phase of Project Loon…
So folks, if you want to get involved in the project and you have a wedge of cash lying around, contact your fellow loons over at Google, I’m sure they’d love to hear from you! Seriously though, this is a really groundbreaking idea and if you can support the project, please do so.
[Image via designboom]