Project Loon: Google Balloons Reaches Sri Lanka

Project Loon: Google Balloons Reaches Sri Lanka
Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary via Compfight cc
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Google’s Project Loon has expanded further; it will now be tested on Sri Lankan skies. The balloon powered high-speed internet service is being tested by the tech giant ahead of a planned joint venture with the government, reports The Guardian.


According to the government’s information and communications technology chief Muhunthan Canagey, there will be three balloons that will be used for the test, one of which has already entered the Sri Lankan  air space this Monday after being launched from South America .

The Wall Street Journal adds that Canagey said that the two other balloons for the initial testing are expected to reach the country’s coastline by the end of the month. One of which is currently off the East Coast of South Africa and is expected by next week while the other balloon is expected within 12 days.

Meanwhile, members of the Google team are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka within this week. The team is expected to test the flight controls on the balloon, the spectrum efficiency and the technical matters that needs to be dealt with.

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Independent explains that the Project Loon balloons are helium filled that fly in the stratosphere, “around as twice as high as a commercial airliner.” It carries a small box decked out with solar panels that carry out the craft’s electronics. It moves with the wind using algorithms that tell them where to go.

The balloons have a lifespan of up to 180 days but it can be recycled. The company hopes that in the future, the balloons can be used to form one large communications network through partnering with telecom companies.

Project Loon is Google’s initiative with the goal of helping remote regions of the world to gain access to the internet and the estimated two-thirds of people who is believed to be currently unwired.  It was first tested in Australia and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the government announced earlier this month that it would take a 25% stake in the joint venture with Google to deliver high speed internet service. Sri Lanka is not, however, investing any capital but instead take the stake in return for allocating spectrum for the initiative.

10% of the joint venture is being offered to existing telephone service providers on the island. These providers will be able to improve the quality of their current service and access higher speeds once the initiative is up and running.