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Google's Balloons to Provide Internet to Rural Indonesia

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Starting next year, three mobile network operators in Indonesia will begin testing Google's Project Loon balloon powered Internet.

Over the next few years, Google said that it hopes that Loon will help put LTE based internet connections within reach of more than 100 million Indonesians.

In Indonesia today, only about 1 out of every 3 people are connected to the web, and most of their connections are often slow. Many people live in areas without existing Internet infrastructure; on an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, with mountains and jungles, it's difficult to run fiber optic cable or install mobile phone towers.

That's where Loon comes in. Loon balloons act like floating cell phone towers in the sky. Flying on the winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, each one beams a connection down to the ground; as one balloon drifts out of range, another moves in to take its place. Project Loon balloons travel approximately 20 km above the Earth's surface in the stratosphere. Winds in the stratosphere are stratified, and each layer of wind varies in speed and direction. By moving with the wind, the balloons can be arranged to form one large communications network.

These tests with Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata are a key milestone for the Loon team as they continue to test, learn and expand the project.

Launch photo

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Tags: google  indosat  telkomsel  xl axiata  Indonesia