Sitting there reading this, you probably assume that the internet is a global community, and for the most part you'd be correct. However two thirds of the world's population have no internet access. Be it the result of converage gaps, remote locations or political and societal oppression, some populations are completely cut off from the world's greatest information resource. Project Loom aims to vastly broaden the reach of internet connectivity. Now, that all sounds great: but how the heck are they going to do it?
To understand we need to get a little nerdy and delve into something that sounds almost like science fiction. Project Loon uses highly modified weather balloons, which once launced, float in the stratosphere (that's the thin layer of atmosphere twice as high as airplane routes and just above where the weather hangs out). Just like the ocean, the stratosphere consists of wind currents and density shifts. The balloons that make up Project Loon are solar powered and use on board navigation to adjust their position by rising and descending through varying wind currents. Once again, that all sounds impressive, but what does it all mean?
By partnering with telecommunication companies, a network of these balloons can cover a large surface area with internet connectivity; allowing users to connect to the Loon network at 4G speeds in areas not currently covered by standard transmitter towers or underground cable networks. This would allow internet connectivity to remain in place during natural disasters or other events that may damage ground based communication infrastructure. Project Loon also aims to reduce the cost of internet connectivity, as service providers would no longer need to rely on expensive towers or underground cable networks.
New Zealand, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Indonesia have all signed on with Google to allow them to trial the service in their countries. At the time of writing this article, India has just become the fifth participant, which will lead to the first large scale deployment across such a large land mass. If successful, it will provide a very strong case study to convince other countries to get on-board, and as the network grows, the world will get closer and closer to persistent global internet coverage.
Click Here to see and read more about Project Loon. Also, has an emergent technology or trend caught your eye? at+m love this kind of high tech innovation, so if you know of something, please share it with us on our Facebook Page.
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