Can you fathom a world without Internet connection? I certainly can’t. Yet two-thirds of the global population is not connected to the World Wide Web. So Google decided to change this and close the gap of unconnected people.
How did they plan on doing this? By using a network of balloons that float in the Earth’s stratosphere (twice as high as aeroplanes fly) to help bring Internet to the most rural and remote areas on the planet. Through their partnerships with telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum, they allow people to connect with the balloon network. The signal is then passed through the balloon network and back to the global Internet down here on planet Earth. Google decided to name this mission ‘Project Loon’. It may seem like a loony idea, but it’s one that seems to be working.
Beginning in 2013 with a pilot test, it is now moving onto the next stages of the project. The goal is to provide 4G LTE signals to anyone with a 4G device, and by the end of the year they hope to have 100 balloons in the stratosphere.
Project Loon could bring huge advantages to billions of impoverished people – for example, rural children will be able to access online education, and it will help bring more jobs to people all over the world. From a marketing point of view, it also essentially means that four billion more eyeballs will be on Google. As a result, we must be ready to embrace an entirely new population that we may never have considered before.
Jessica Ellis - Business Development Director
Image source: Google: https://plus.google.com/+ProjectLoon/photos