Items tagged with Project Loon

Google is talking up a new technology that it is testing out to help Project Loon bring connectivity to unconnected regions. The new technology is called Free Space Optical communications or FSOC. The tech uses light beams to deliver high-speed, high-capacity internet connectivity over long distances. Google says that it is just like a fiber optic cable, only without the cable. Ditching the cable means none of the time and cost involved with laying fiber-optic cable, which is very expensive. Google says that with FSOC boxes, the hardware can be placed kilometers apart on roofs or towers, and the signal is then beamed directly between the boxes. The lack of cabling means that data can easily... Read more...
Alphabet's Project Loon team has sent LTE balloons up in the sky over parts of Puerto Rico. Project leader Alastair Westgarth stated in a blog post that his team was working with the government of Puerto Rico, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), FEMA, and others to make this happen. The team is also collaborating with wireless carrier AT&T to deliver emergency Internet services to the hardest hit parts of the island. "Working with AT&T, Project Loon is now supporting basic communication and internet activities like sending text messages and accessing information online for some people with LTE enabled phones. This is the first time we have... Read more...
Sometimes the things that Alphabet/Google tries to do out of its X branch sound insane, but this is why it's called the moonshot factory. One of the odd projects that has come out of X is Project Loon. The idea behind this project is to strap hardware that beams internet down to the masses underneath high altitude balloons. X has gained permission to blanket the devastated territory of Puerto Rico with LTE internet access using Project Loon balloons. After Hurricane Maria made landfall and devastated the area, the electric grid and wireless communications are still mostly out of service. According to the FCC, a full 83% of cellular sites remain dark in Puerto Rico. FCC chairman Ajit Pai said,... Read more...
According to Google, more than half of the world's population is still without Internet access. One of Google's ambitious goals is to change that statistic. That's no easy task for several reasons, one of which is that some locations are just too remote for ISPs to set foot in. Google has been experimenting with different ways of solving this problem, including the deployment of balloons that beam Internet connectivity in hard to reach places. This is an ongoing effort and one that is becoming more viable thanks to the adoption of machine learning. "You make unexpected discoveries that propel you forward faster than you ever thought possible. That’s the less-well-known secret of our moonshot... Read more...
In early 2014, both Google and Facebook battled to acquire Titan Aerospace in an attempt to use its technologies to beam the Internet from the sky through the use of aerial drones. Ultimately, Google won, and has since worked hard to accomplish its initial goal. However, as we now learn, Google apparently doesn't see much success in the immediate future with this particular take on things, so it's pulling the plug on the entire project. While this could be disappointing news, what makes it interesting is the fact that the project had actually been canned for a while. According to an Alphabet spokeswoman, Titan had been shut down in early 2016. It wasn't until a technology blog reported on the... Read more...
This past summer, Google unveiled one of its coolest (and craziest) projects to date. Called "Project Loon", Google hopes that in time, balloons might help bring the Internet to parts of the world where it's just not common, or affordable. These balloons would soar in the sky at twice the altitude of commercial aircraft, and trek around the globe on a continual basis while beaming the Internet down to users. Overall, the technology behind Project Loon is undeniably cool, and if it helps to get the Internet - a rather important resource today - to those without easy access to it, it's hard to see that as a bad thing. One combatant of the tech though is Bill Gates, who believes third-world countries... Read more...
It's easy to take broadband Internet access for granted when you live in a city or the suburbs. Companies like Charter, Comcast, and other ISPs have done a good job making sure densely populated areas can receive fast Internet service, but once you venture off the beaten path, broadband is a bit more difficult to come by. The situation is even worse on a worldwide scale -- according to Google, 2 out every 3 people on the planet are without fast, affordable Internet options. The solution? Maybe balloons. Yes, balloons, which would serve as the backbone to an ambitious effort to expand affordable Internet access to rural areas and other destinations with limited options. Google's calling the "crazy"... Read more...