Google Providing Internet to Sri Lanka with Balloons
Google aims to provide Internet to rural Sri Lankans using high-tech balloons. For at least two years, the company has been experimenting with various designs, and now they’ve reached one they believe will have some success. The input of another company that deals in balloons, Raven Aerostar.
Project Loon will soon be getting off the ground with new Internet service for Sri Lanka. The government was excited about the development, the Foreign Minister concluding a speech by saying he was “proud to declare that we are at the cusp of a reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world.”
According to a recent Google+ post:
We started by building much, much bigger balloons able to hold equipment capable of beaming connectivity 20 km down to the earth below—starting with our modestly larger early Albatross design, all the way up to our 141-foot-long Hawk and beyond. To ensure there’s always a balloon overhead to provide connection, we needed to build a system that can manufacture these balloons at scale, leading to our latest balloon design, the Nighthawk, the likes of which has never been seen before.
The company intends for the balloons to stay in the air for 100 days at a time. The latest version is the Nighthawk, and it will be able to send LTE signals to mobile phones on the ground, providing data service to rural parts of the country. The government was eager to get coverage to all parts of the small country, wanting spotty coverage to be a part “of history.”
Google has rolled out other initiatives in the world to provide better data coverage, including fiber optics in certain cities throughout the United States.
Images from Google’s Project Loon.