Alphabet (ex-Google) has signed agreements with three Indonesians telecom operators for its project loon. Beginning of the tests in 2016.
The concept of this project is to deploy a network of hot air balloons in the stratosphere, above aircraft line and bad weather, and to use them as relays between areas with access to the Internet and those that are lacking. The first tests took place in 2013 in New Zealand, and Loon teams arrive now to transmit data between two hot-air balloons away more than 100 kilometers, according to a message posted Wednesday on the social network Google +.
The Indonesia seems like a good candidate, because only one-third of its 250 million people currently have Internet access, and “lay fiber optic networks or install and maintain antennas of mobile telephony across the more than 17,000 islands that constitute the present Indonesia’s important difficulties”, said the message. Indosat, Telkomsel and XL Axiaa operators signed an agreement in principle Wednesday, and details of the planned deployment of project loon for next year, remain to be determined.
Facebook has a competing project of Loon
It looks however as the biggest test to date for the Loon project, which had already been testing on a smaller scale with operators such as Telefónica in Latin America, Telstra in Australia and Vodafone in New Zealand, but never far with three operators within a region.
Before the Indonesia, the Government of Sri Lanka had also announced this summer an agreement to use the project loon to become the first country in the region to display internet coverage on the whole of its territory.
Another large American internet group, Facebook has a competing project Loon, where the balloon would be replaced by solar drones connected between them or communication equipment on the ground by lasers. The construction of the first of these drones, designed in the United Kingdom and called Aquila was completed this summer and flight tests would start before the end of the year.
More details on Google Loon