google has received India's permission to start testing Project Loon, by which the company will beam the internet from balloons in the sky, to provide affordable internet access -- without high-cost traditional infrastructure -- to rural areas in India. Here are six facts about the project...
Balloons in the stratosphere
Project Loon balloons will float in the stratosphere, 20 kilometers above the Earth's surface. Each balloon can provide internet access to an area of 40 kilometers. The balloons will remain powered through the day with energy generated by solar panels.
Google, the technology provider
Project Loon is aimed at increasing internet penetration in rural as well as remote areas in India; Google, however, will only be the technology provider and not the internet service provider.
2.6GHz band to be used
To provide internet access via Project Loon, Google has partnered with BSNL, the state-run telecom operator, to share its telecom spectrum. It will use the 2.6GHz band to test beaming the internet from the sky.
Google claims each balloon can provide connectivity using 4G, or LTE, technology. To use LTE, Google has partnered with telecom companies to share spectrum so people can access the internet directly from their phones.
India's the 5th Project Loon country
New Zealand was the first country to get internet powered by Project Loon. Brazil was the second. Sri Lanka also gave the nod to Google recently and is expected to get 100% internet connectivity "in a few months". Indonesia is the fourth country to get Project Loon-based internet and India will be the fifth.
Drones may be in the offing
While the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) gave the nod for Project Loon, it rejected Google's plans to provide internet via eight big solar-powered drones. If the company gets the requisite clearances, we may soon have drones in the sky beaming down internet as well.