In further encouraging signs for PM Modi’s ambitious Digital India initiative, Internet Giant Google is all set to tie up with the Indian government towards providing enhanced connectivity across the country using its giant balloons.
While providing connectivity atop Balloons may seem a bit shaky on the surface, the technology is sound enough and has already been tested in other parts of the globe, including New Zealand, The US and Brazil. In India, Google is said to be courting BSNL for the first phase of its connectivity drive — and probably the 2.6 Ghz band will be used.
Google, under its ‘Project Loon’, is using big balloons floating at a height of 20 kilometers above earth surface for transmission of Internet services. It has already tested this technology in New Zealand, California (the US) and Brazil.
“Google approached government to set up the Loon project and Drone-based Internet transmission. Government has approved testing of Loon project only as of now. A committee under chairmanship of Secretary, DEITY, has been formed to work on it,” an official source told PTI.
“By 2016, we believe we can start to launch a commercial format that allows us to have coverage on every square inch of planet Earth. We are working very closely with telecom providers and governments across the world including India to see how we bring this innovation here,” said Mohammad Gawdat, VP of business Innovation at Google X, a semi-secret facility of Google’s that is dedicated to making major technological advancements.
The balloons travel 20km above the Earth’s surface, in the stratosphere. Loon uses software algorithms to determine where the balloon needs to go depending on the direction of the wind. It started as a pilot some two years back when 30 balloons were launched from New Zealand’s South Island that beamed internet to a small group of users.
The technology, used for 4G services, has potential to replace mobile towers as it can directly transmit signals on 4G mobile phones.