Google’s planning a large test of its internet balloons – in Indonesia.
Internet connectivity is rough in Indonesia, a 17,000+ island chain. Google is partnering up with telecoms Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata to provide service to the under-connected region.
“In Indonesia today, only about 1 out of every 3 people are connected to the web, and most of their connections are painfully slow. Many people live in areas without existing Internet infrastructure; on an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, with mountains and jungles, it’s difficult to run fiber optic cable or install mobile phone towers. That’s where Loon comes in. Loon balloons act like floating cell phone towers in the sky. Flying on the winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, each one beams a connection down to the ground; as one balloon drifts out of range, another moves in to take its place. We hope this could help local operators extend the coverage of their existing networks, and reach further into rural and remote areas,” says Google.
The tests will begin in 2016, and Google says it hopes to bring high-speed internet to more than 100 million Indonesians over the next few years.
Google announced Project Loon in 2013. One of Google[x]’s ‘moonshot’ ventures, Project Loon wants to increase internet access for underserved areas across the world by putting giant internet-providing balloons way up in the air – as in twice as high as commercial airplanes.
Loon balloons float around at about 20km.