Sunder Pichai, the current CEO of Google, in his desire to make India a technological fulcrum, wants to introduce a whole new concept in India. He wishes to launch Project Loon in India soon.
Now you must be pondering what this project is all about?
Project Loon is basically about proffering internet through balloons floating in the sky. Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. In the stratosphere, there are many layers of wind, and each layer of wind varies in direction and speed. Loon balloons go where they’re needed by rising or descending into a layer of wind blowing in the desired direction of travel. By partnering with Telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum, it enables people to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. The signal is then passed across the balloon network and back down to the global Internet on Earth. This project is basically integrated with providing internet in the rural and remote areas.
Google’s Project Loon began in June 2013, with an experimental pilot in New Zealand where the pioneers of this project first tested loon technology. After the experiment, New Zealand, California and north-eastern Brazil are being used to improve this technology.
As per Google, each balloon can render connectivity to a ground area about 40 kms in diameter using a wireless communications technology called LTE or 4G.
Now, Google wants this project to come to India as it will dispense affordable Internet access to millions. This project is about making the internet service reach the rural and far-flung areas and that is a big factor as India has got a large rural population. However, the government is not much convinced by this project yet as Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had recently told Parliament that Google’s Project Loon will interfere with cellular transmissions of mobile operators in India. In response, Google said that the company is working across the world with local carriers, operators and suppliers and will not carry out the project on its own. It will not disrupt the cellular networks and will work in accordance with them.
Speaking at the Google for India event, the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai said: “Project Loon will hurl balloons in the sky to help reach out to rural areas.”
Narendra Modi has shown interest in this project as he had earlier conveyed his dream to digitalize India and wants internet to cover the whole country. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, believes this has multiple uses like long distance education, rural schools and telemedicine. He was given a briefing about Loon during his tour to the Google headquarters in the Silicon Valley. Google officials told Modi that they were already doing a pilot project in Andhra Pradesh and the idea is to target rural areas which still do not have Internet penetration. The government has in-principle, agreed to partner with Google’s Project Loon on a pilot basis and state run BSNL has been assigned to partner it, communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad confirmed on Wednesday after a meeting with Google’s CEO Sunder Pichai. If the pilot project will turn out to be successful in India, then Project Loon will come into action soon.
Google is moving forward with the aim to cover the whole globe with this technology by 2016.
The PM is in favour of this project as he has already given a positive review on the project. Ofcourse, this is a good step towards technological advancement but don’t you think that there are other important aspects in which our nation needs to focus on first? The hindrances related to poverty, education, health require more heed and the government is definitely working to ameliorate the education, health and living standards. However, the Modi-led government is more hooked towards the idea of Digital India. Project Loom is a very Modish and futuristic idea and will add another dimension to the world of internet, but we should not overlook the fact that our country has got more pressing matters to sort out.
Well, the fortuity of this project in India is something that only time will tell, till then let’s wait and watch.