Google to launch ‘internet balloons’ above the earth

(Photo Credit: NDTV)
  • Google will be launching at least 300 balloons in the stratosphere to distribute internet signals
  • The directions where the balloons will be going can be controlled by computers
  • The company says that they can distribute internet access worldwide by the end of 2016

What if there are WiFi routers that float around the earth in mid-air?

Global technology giant Google has vowed to offer worldwide internet access by the end of 2016 through a futuristic project initiated by its newly-formed mother company Alphabet.

In an article written by Leo Kelion for BBC News on October 28, it was disclosed that the company has partnered with three of Indonesia’s top mobile networks in launching a program called “Project Loon“, wherein 300 heavy-duty balloons carrying network equipment will be initially launched to the stratosphere to test the possibility of distributing internet signals across different places through the use of floating devices.

(Photo Credit: BBC)
(Photo Credit: BBC)

We hope next year to build our first continuous ring around the world, and to have some sort of continuous coverage for certain regions. And if all goes well after, then after that we will start rolling out our first beta commercial customers,” Project Loon’s Vice President Mike Cassidy said.

According to Google, a computer-controlled mechanism will be used to raise the balloons up to about 20 kilometers above the earth’s surface, and from that position, the devices carried by the balloons will be sending network signals to antennas that are built on strategic places around the world.

Such devices attached to each balloon include two radio transceivers, a flight computer with GPS tracker, an altitude controller, and a solar panel.

Cassidy also added that the project could potentially transmit data to connected devices at a rate of up to 10 megabits per second — a speed that is comparable to a 4G internet connection.

Watch this YouTube video to learn more about Project Loon: