Macro Systems Blog
Project Loon: Delivering Affordable Internet Access to Many Who Don't Have it
It’s nearly impossible to believe that half of the globe still doesn’t have access to the Internet. While so many people in the west take their near-ubiquitous Internet accessibility for granted, over three and half billion people don’t have access at all. Years ago, Google created X (or Google X) which was essentially a research-and-development facility.
Now the facility operates as a subsidiary to Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Project Loon, however, has broken out of X and is now its own subsidiary of Alphabet. Its objective is to provide Internet access to places that don’t have it with the use of high-altitude balloons. Some of the speeds are said to be up to 4G-LTE. Listed below is how it works:
The high-altitude balloons are launched and are remotely moved into place about 18 km (11 miles) above the ground. Experts have determined that, at this height in the atmosphere, relatively low wind speeds create minimal turbulence; and, since the company can model approximate wind speeds for all seasons, they can keep the balloons between 18-to-25 km above the ground over a specific area. This is accomplished by adjusting the volume of gas inside the balloon.
Motivations for Development
The primary reason this technology was developed was because people in certain areas either didn't have access to Internet service or the service that was available was so expensive that it was basically unaffordable. For example: the first person to ever connect to Project Loon was a farmer from New Zealand who did have Internet available to him, but the cost (over $1,000 per month) was untenable for that farmer. Project Loon would give people like this the fordable Internet access they don't have today.
The Benefits of Internet Access
Most of us take Internet access for granted since most of us have access to some pretty incredible Internet speeds, but for the people who don’t, it can really put them behind. Think about how you use the Internet daily for work, for your personal life, your home life, and for something as simple as driving directions. Then realize that half of the world’s population doesn’t have access to any of that. The Internet brings access to information, enhanced communications, financial flexibility, productivity options that simply aren’t possible without it, and much more.
Delivering Internet access today is like delivering electricity and clean water. Today’s society requires a degree of Internet accessibility. As a result, Project Loon could be viewed as a humanitarian effort; and could be just the thing these developing regions need to get the opportunity to join the world community.
If you would like more information about Project Loon, you can check out their website at http://loon.co, and check back to Macro System’s blog for more great technology information.