Google’s Project Loon is making another big move. Loon is heading to Sri Lanka. On June 28th, a deal was signed between Sri Lanka’s government and Google for local telecommunication companies to enable a connection to the balloon network. Google is using their solar panel-powered balloons to float in the stratosphere and send down internet connectivity. Although this is a country of over 22 million –only about 1 in five people have access to the internet. This is their first large scale effort and we are anxiously awaiting the results.
A Facebook post from Harsha De Silva, the deputy minister of policy planning and economic affairs:
Hopefully, in a few months, every person and every device on the island will be covered by 3G…Today’s agreement will certainly provide a huge boost to our game plan to create a knowledge-based, highly [competitive]social market economy that will help every household achieve their own dreams.
We are certain that technologies like Google’s Project Loon are going to change the world. Think of bringing internet connections to the two thirds of the world’s population that are not currently connected. You can read more about what Project Loon is all about and how the balloons work: HERE.
We have high hopes for a great outcome of this first ground zero project for Google’s Project Loon.
From The Wire:
Unlike Internet.org, which cuts a number of back-room deals in order to provide “free” and limited Internet access, Sri Lanka’s telecom operators will piggyback onto Google’s balloon infrastructure in order to provide a drastically cheaper (but not free) form of universal Internet access. As Muhunthan Canagey, the managing director of Sri Lanka’s ICT Agency, pointed out in an interview to The Nation, “Instead of spending many years and even more zillions of dollars laying cables, Sri Lanka and Google will put the Internet in the air… beaming down connections to every town and village.” According to Canagey, Google will then “engage in discussions with local mobile telecom operators and discuss revenue-sharing agreements for the provision of Wi-Fi services.”
Have you been following along with Project Loon’s journey? What are your thoughts or concerns? How do you think this Sri Lanka project will go? Comment below!