Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Google "years closer" to rolling out net balloons

Google Google "years closer" to rolling out net balloons
Theresa Hayes | 18 February, 2017, 00:02

The result of that breakthrough, he says, is that the team can now cluster balloons in certain areas for months at a time.

Teller said: 'Our timelines are starting to move up on how we can do more for the world sooner'.

The acceleration was credited to software leaps that allow internet-serving balloons to ride high-altitude winds to ideal locations or loop in patterns that create consistent webs of internet coverage in the sky. He likened the newly developed algorithms' objectives to "a game of chess with the wind".

Which means of course, that the deployment of Project Loon's balloons, albeit in smaller numbers, is much closer to reality. Now balloons can adjust how they fly as needed using artificial intelligence software instead of a set navigation plan. Was it even possible for these balloons to cover large distances?

Now a small balloon fleet can be deployed to specific areas in need of connectivity.

Alphabet frames Project Loon as a noble endeavor striving to enable people now without reliable internet service to tap into the vast reservoir of knowledge, entertainment and conveniences available online. The signal is relayed across the balloon network, and then sent back down people in rural areas.

"Real users" will be able to use the system in the "coming months", he added - but he did not specify where the initial roll out would take place.


"The government as well as Google are lobbying the ITU, but if we fail there's a risk Google will go to another country that is not bound by these rules".

"We intend to be part of an ecosystem - in any country where we are doing testing we would work with a local telco".

Loon eventually plans to earn revenue from telecom operators that want to extend their reach to remote areas in a cost effective manner.

- Grounded in Sri Lanka?

In 2013, Google launched 30 balloons into the stratosphere from New Zealand.

The team, which is part of Alphabet's X research laboratory, said it was now able to employ machine learning to predict weather systems. To date, the record for continuous balloon flight has been 190 days.

The Project Loon idea was sparked as a way to bring internet connectivity to the billions around the world who do not have access.