Google to Work with Indosat, Telkomsel & XL to Test Internet-Beaming Balloons

From left to right: Ririek Adriansyah, CEO of Telkomsel; Dian Siswarini, CEO of XL Axiata; Alexander Rusli, Indosat CEO; Mike Cassidy, VP, Loon; Sergey Brin, President, Alphabet Inc Image Credit: Google

Google has announced that it will begin testing balloon-powered internet early next year in Indonesia. The search giant will be working with the top three mobile network operators in country - Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata - to beam LTE connectivity across 17,000 islands, targeting to reach more than 100 million Indonesians. Google via the 2-year-old 'Project Loon' hopes that it could help the operators extend the coverage of their existing networks, and reach further into rural and remote areas.

Google said that Loon balloons act like floating cell phone towers in the sky. Flying on the winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, each one beams a connection down to the ground; as one balloon drifts out of range, another moves in to take its place. 

Project Loon balloons travel approximately 20 km above the Earth’s surface in the stratosphere. Winds in the stratosphere are stratified, and each layer of wind varies in speed and direction. By moving with the wind, the balloons can be arranged to form one large communications network, said Google.

 

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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