At a time we are discussing the game changing potential of 5G, providing connectivity and internet services in remote areas still remains a particular challenge for several economies. Google Balloon Project Loon aims to solve internet issues in remote areas. Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) 2019 report highlighted that lack of competition in broadband markets keeps millions of people offline around the globe.Remarkably, more than 70% of African population still do not have adequate internet access.
Makers of the balloon say this project is expected to make easier to provide connectivity in remote places that have the challenge of connect towers installations.The project was initially started as an experiment in New Zealand in the year 2013! In fact, the first Loon Balloon was sent off to Kenya to enable internet in the area. However, the project has come under slack suggesting it could turn into a monopolistic model because the technology used for these internet balloons was developed under Alphabet’s experimental division X. Alphabet is the parent company for Loon Balloon.
What is a Google Loon Balloon?
Loon LLC is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company behind the leading search engine giant. A loon is essentially a network of Google Balloons that are developed to provide internet connectivity in the remotest regions. Moreover, a Google Loon balloon is approximately about the size of a tennis court and is made of polyethylene sheets.It is powered by solar panels producing nearly 100W power to run its electronics and chargebatteries for working during night.
How do Loon Balloons Work and Connect?
In a Loon network, ground stations beam Internet connectivity to an overhead balloon. Subsequently, signals are also sent to its near by balloons. It almost creates anetwork of floating cell towers. The Loon balloons communicate with dedicated Internet antennas installed at the users’ houses. Thereby, the Loon balloon network deliversinternet services and connectivityto LTE-enabled devices on the ground.
Google Loon Launches First Non-Emergency Balloon Fleet
In one of the latest updates in the Google Loon Balloon Project, the company launched a fleet of its loon balloons in Kenya. The fleet provides internet connectivity in the remote parts of the country.
Remarkably, the newly launched fleet of Google balloons is the first ever balloon-powered internet service on the continent. Moreover, it is also the first of its kind non-emergency commercial deployment of the internet providing balloons in the world.
As per the CNN News Report, Google Loon project in the country will initially have around 35 balloons flying 20 km above the ground. The fleet is constantly in motion in the stratosphere. It will deliver 4G LTE service flying over an area of 50,000 sq. km across the western and central regions of the African nation.
The Loon project balloons have earlier been deployed during emergency times like the Maria Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. It has further been accelerated in the current times of pandemic. The pandemic has put professionals on their new WFH (Work from Home) status while students are getting on to e-learning platforms and resources. Thus, the project aims to provide much-needed internet services to work and learn from home and stay connected to their distant friends and families.