We are so used to turning on the laptop and having the Internet, like someone who opens a tap and water comes out of it, that sometimes we forget that there are certain parts of the world that do not have access to the network of networks. And we already know that Google is not about to miss the opportunity to provide its service to each inhabitant of the Earth. That is why, for a while, he created what they called Project Loon. His ambitious plan to bring the Internet to every corner of the planet , even to those rural and inhospitable areas where all this 2.0 is far away. What exactly does this so-called Project Loon consist of?
Project Loon: Balloon WiFi for Everyone
It was in June 2013: Google launches, as part of the Project Loon pilot program, 12 balloons into the stratosphere in New Zealand. These balloons are made of material that lasts over time, containing solar panels that will help spread the Internet signal. These balloons are transported directly through the air using certain algorithms, developed by Google engineers. These first balloons were followed by about thirty, each 15 meters in diameter, with the possibility of emitting WiFi signals that, in turn, were received through an antenna. These balloons are suspended between 18 and 20 km above the ground, remaining in the air for several days.
The operation, in theory, seems extremely simple. From an antenna located on the earth's surface the WiFi signal is sent to the nearest globe. This balloon serves as a repeater, reaching the rest of the balloons and thus forming an Internet network . Again, from the globe to the user, with speeds already tested of up to 1 MB on the LTE network of their mobile phones.
Now, the Project takes another step forward in its ambitious plan to bring the Internet to the whole world with a new balloon launch, this time in Puerto Rico. Yesterday, Sunday, the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló, informed the media of the launch of the plan on the island. Puerto Rico has been chosen to continue with the Loon Project after the devastating passage of Hurricane María, which has deprived 82% of the population of telecommunication networks . Thus, the Federal Communications Commission of the United States has given the green light to the project to alleviate the need for the area, the restoration of which would be long and extremely costly.
The democratization of the Internet, a plan for the future
This temporary license allows Google to place a total of 30 hot air balloons in the stratosphere . These balloons will form a communications network capable of providing the Internet area. Users who take advantage of these peculiar 'air routers' will not notice any difference with the usual way they had to connect before the disaster. Several of these balloons are already, in fact, in the air, and Google is finalizing the launch of those that are still on the ground.7
In the following video you can see how this network of hot air balloons works . A network that, if it became common, would further democratize Internet access in those inhospitable and rural areas that flood our planet.
This new Google strategy has two faces. Some will see another attempt by the Internet giant to hoard more and more information, wondering where its limit lies. Others will undoubtedly allege the fact that Google is doing its best to bring the Internet to areas where, due to natural disasters or other reasons, they are disconnected. The debate, again, is served.