Google’s internet balloons to circle Earth

London, Oct 29 (IANS) Google’s much talked about Project Loon is on course and constant internet beaming from floating balloons may become a reality in certain regions as early as next year.

The company believes the move would let it trial a continuous data service to people living below the balloons’ path, BBC reported.

The declaration coincides with the announcement that three of Indonesia’s mobile networks intend to start testing Project Loon’s transmissions next year.

Google suggested that Project Loon would be a cheaper solution than installing fibre optic cables or building mobile phone masts across all of Indonesia’s islands, which contain jungles and mountains.

Google had first come up with the balloon plan in 2013.

“In the early days, the balloons would last five or seven or 10 days. Now we have had balloons that have lasted as long as 187 days,” vice-president of Project Loon, Mike Cassidy, was quoted as saying.

“(We need) about 300 balloons or so to make a continuous string around the world. As one moves along with the wind out of range, another one comes to take its place,” Cassidy explained.

Each balloon only provides connectivity to a ground area 40km in diameter below it — supplying the connected devices with about 10 megabits a second via antennae on the ground.

“We hope next year to build our first continuous ring around the world, and to have some sort of continuous coverage for certain regions. After that we will start rolling out our first beta commercial customers,” he was reported as saying.

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