The Domestic version of the Google Loon Project
As is required by the US Federal Communications Commission, Google has filed a request to fly it’s Loon project over US soil. All this might sound like pie in the sky, and so it is somewhat. But short of the multi-million dollar cost to launch a rocket into near-earth orbit, the concept has a nice sound to it.
For three years now, Google has been testing the Loon project over the Southern Hemisphere in places like Easter Island, New Zealand, and Indonesia. But in general these activities have occurred in areas where it is very difficult to string up cables for internet access. The idea is perfect for getting communications out to remote places. And this is no less true for the remote parts of the US.
Unlike recent stories about Google Fiber Wireless, the Loon project offers lesser data rates (than fiber), but likely with prices being lower also. The expected throughput should reflect what is now possible via LTE 4G.
The name of the project reflects the actual idea. It’s not just a cute title, rather real weather balloons carrying 60 to 580 MHz transceivers. And there’s no worry that these lithe wireless devices will either run out of power or be snagged by the wing of a commercial airliner. They operate on solar energy and fly 2.5 times higher than most aircraft (11 miles high).
Although the announcement for the local expansion of the Loon project in the US came in November of 2015, Google does not expect to unleash the product for about 2 years. For those who are waiting for Google Fiber, both Google Fiber Wireless and Google Project Loon may be yet a little longer in the wings.