/// Google’s Plan to Use Balloons to Blanket the World in Bandwidth

June 15, 2013  |  All Things Digital

As much as we like to think that the Internet is a global and universal experience it isn’t. In North America nearly 80 percent of the population had access to the Internet. In Asia, where the United Nations pegged the population at nearly 4 billion last year, slightly more than a billion people or a little better than 27 percent, had access according to the International Telecommunications Union. In Africa, the rate was less than 16 percent. Internet giant Google says that two out of every three people on the globe has no access to fast Internet connection, and so is not participating in the global conversation that connected people take part in every day. That’s the problem it’s aiming to solve with its latest “big idea” project out of its Google[x] research and development unit. Announced yesterday in a corporate blog post it’s called Google Loon, and the idea is deceptively simple: Float a bunch of balloons carrying solar-powered equipment that generates a wireless data signal up to the stratosphere, high above where airplanes fly, but still far below where orbital satellites circle the Earth. Eventually, Google hopes to float a huge network of balloons that circle the Earth following wind patterns which would blanket countries currently lacking in Internet infrastructure with wireless networks comprable to today’s 3G networks. This week the company launched a pilot program in New Zealand, and it’s looking for other countries in the same latitude as New Zealand to do more trials. The video below explains how it will work.

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Google’s Plan to Use Balloons to Blanket the World in Bandwidth

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