According to Mike Cassidy, Project Lead in a blog post, “We’re unveiling our latest moonshot from Google x: balloon-powered Internet access. We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. ”
Cassidy said that though the project was in its early days, they have built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster.
They hope that the balloons will be a great option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas to the internet and for helping with communications after natural disasters anywhere in the world.
Citing earlier trials which faced complexity, Cassidy said, “Many projects have looked at high-altitude platforms to provide Internet access to fixed areas on the ground, but trying to stay in one place like this requires a system with major cost and complexity.
His team will let the balloons sail freely on the winds byusing solar and wind power they aim to control the balloons path through the sky and are also using complex algorithms and lots of computing power to manage several fleets of balloons in the air.
At the moment, the project team has set up a pilot program in the Canterbury area of New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect to their balloons and then will soon expand it to other regions with the same latitude as New Zealand.
The project team is also looking for partners to help with their next phase of the project and also get feedback and ideas on the project as it is now.
Google wants users to someday use their cell phone with their existing service provider to connect to the balloons and get connectivity where there is none as the Internet is one of the most transformative technologies of our lifetimes added Cassidy.
fast and affordable Internet connection is still out of reach to many in Africa and around the world. Cassidy said there are many terrestrial challenges to Internet connectivity—jungles, archipelagos, mountains and major cost challenges where the cost of an Internet connection is more than a month’s income in the some areas. Google X wants to solve this.