Google Wants to Use Balloons to Cover the World in Wi-Fi
15 June, 2013
The project, created by the same Google X team who made self-driving cars and Google Glass, aims to bring internet to the two-thirds of the global population currently without web access, The Daily Telegraph informs.
A pilot launch in Christchurch, New Zealand, was the first public balloon release and is the beginning of Google's plans to build a ring of balloons that would fly around the globe at twice the altitude of aeroplanes and send 3G-speed internet to the earth
below.
Mike Cassidy, director of the plans known as Project Loon, told The Daily Telegraph that the internet balloons were a Google "moonshot" – a radical solution to a huge problem.
He said: "It almost sounds like science fiction when you hear about what our proposal is."
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph from New Zealand, Mr Cassidy said the balloons, which are shaped like a giant pumpkin and roughly the size of a small aircraft, could solve the problem of internet access world wide.
Balloon internet could also be used after a natural disaster, like an earthquake or tsunami, when communication systems often shut down.
The balloons themselves are self-powered by solar panels and can cover an area of about 460 square miles. Users below have an internet antennae they attach the side of their house, with the mobile data from balloons working in a similar way as a hotspot that won't interfere with normal Wi-Fi delivery.
Those balloons released today will travel from west to east off the coast of New Zealand and continue over Chile, Argentina, Australia and eventually South Africa and Uruguay.
Mr Cassidy said Google had not yet considered a business plan but the Loon Project could be affordable for those who don't have internet, the Daily Telegraph reports.

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