As Internet performs a prominent role in life, Google is now planning to bring better Internet Access to about 100 million people in Indonesia, who have not been served by terrestrial networks through its high altitude Balloon Project.
Google has just revealed that they would launch plenty giant balloons about 20,000 meters above the Indonesian Islands in an effort to make Internet more accessible to Indonesian’s citizens with the help of three local mobile network operators – Telkomsel, Axiata and Indosat.
Indonesia, with over 250 million people, has the fourth biggest population in the world; however, only around a third of them are connected to the internet. The unique geography of this country – with thousands of islands dense with jungles and mountains, makes it much more difficult to build conventional internet structures like cable lines and cell towers. In this case, using high altitude balloons are considered as the best way to send internet throughout the country. “Loon can help telecommunications companies extend their networks”, said Mike Cassidy, vice president of Project Loon.
The balloons are solar – powered and positioned around 20 kilometers in the skies. Each of them can stay aloft for up to 6 months at a time. Once balloons are floating, they will beam wireless signals down to the ground and then make Internet accessible. When one float out of range, another one moves in, which will effectively provide Internet connection to a generous space, enable the citizens in remote areas to easily gain access to networks.
To get access to internet from Google’s giant balloons, Indonesian citizens only need a mobile phone or device. As what they revealed, Google expects speeds of up to 10 megabits a second.
Before targeting Indonesia, Google had tested their project in three other countries: New Mexico, Chile, and Sri Lanka. They are planning to launch more than 300 Loon balloons in 2016. “In the beginning, it was all we could do to launch one balloon a day. Now with our automated crane system, we can launch dozens of balloons a day for every crane we have”, Cassidy reported. Ambitious goal, but it seems that Google is on the way to up to the task.
The testing of this project in Indonesia will be carried out next year. This practice is said to help Google get closer to the point: bring the Internet to people around the world.