If Google Fiber is the company’s attempt at bringing superb Internet connections to developed areas, Project Loon is Google’s plan to connect areas that may otherwise have no access to the Internet at all. These can be rural areas, urban areas with coverage gaps, areas struck by disaster and areas where nerds are having birthday parties.
Google says it will launch balloons to an altitude of about 20km (appx. 12 mi.). Each balloon can supposedly cover a ground area about 40km (about 25 mi) in diameter and provide “speeds comparable to 3G.” Each balloon is made of plastic that’s about 49 ft. wide and 39 ft. tall when fully inflated.
A solar panel will power the electronics onboard each balloon. The panel will also charge a battery on each balloon so that it can still work at night. On the ground, users will connect to the balloons using antennas with – guess what – balloon-shaped covers. Here’s a slightly more technical explanation of Project Loon:
Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots? Come on. How can you argue against a guy with a name and title like that? The first Project Loon balloons will be launched in South Island in New Zealand this month. Check out the Project Loon website if you want to learn more. Also, alert the Resistance.