Google Loon Project, Internet Balloon for Indonesia
After Google Project Sunroof, Google self-driving car, Google photos food truck, and many other google project, now Indonesia get the opportunity as the place where the giant tech company will launch its project : Google Loon Project. Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Vice President of Google Loon Project Mike Cassidy announced the news on a press conference Wednesday, October 28th 2015 at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Google Loon Project is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters. Because even though many people have enjoyed internet nowadays, there are still many people as well that couldn’t enjoy it. With Google Loon Project, Google hopes that internet will be for everyone, truly everyone.
Google step to choose Indonesia as the next destination to launch the loons is the right choice. With more than 17.000 islands and contains with mountains and jungle, Indonesia still got difficulties to give the internet access to all over the country. Even though the internet connection start to reach the unreachable area step by step, the connections are still painfully slow. Therefore, Google Loon Project will be the great alternative for Indonesia to serve internet to all of its citizen. Beside, it is more cheaper to use balloon instead of installing fiber optic cables or building mobile phone masts across all of Indonesia’s islands.
As posted on a blog post about their Loon Project, the top three mobile network operators in Indonesia, which is Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata will begin testing Project Loon over Indonesia in 2016. Mike Cassidy said :
“From Sabang all the way to Merauke, many of these people live in areas without any existing Internet infrastructure, so we hope balloon-powered Internet could someday help give them access to the information and opportunity of the web.”
Telkomsel’s president, Ririek Adriansyah commented on Google Loon Project :
“[We recognize] Project Loon as one of the latest technological innovations, which would be very advantageous in expanding internet coverage in areas that are difficult to reach and also have a low population density,”
Google hopes that the next trial of internet balloons in Indonesia will create a ‘ring’ of the floating hotspots above Earth before the year ends. This ring will include around 300 balloons designed to create a ‘continuous string around the world’ that can provide web access even if one balloon moves in the wind. Two years ago in June, Google launched 30 balloons into the stratosphere from New Zealand. These balloons floated at altitudes up to 15.5 miles (25km) and traveled as fast as 200mph (324 km/h). In May last year, Google tested the Project Loon balloons in Piauí, Brazil, marking its first 4G experiments near the equator. Check out Google Loon Project in New Zealand below :
As explained on Google Loon Project website, each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communications technology called LTE. To use LTE, Project Loon partners with telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum so that people will be able to access the Internet everywhere directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. Balloons relay wireless traffic from cell phones and other devices back to the global Internet using high-speed links.
Not only Google who have the purpose to give internet access for everyone. The leading social media, Facebook is also working on a similar initiative called Internet.org. It plans to launch a satellite to provide internet access to remote parts of Africa in the second half of 2016.