‘Project Loon’ in India? Google to shoo away India’s concerns over the project

Amid reports that the Indian government has found technical challenges in Google’s ‘Project Loon’, the technology major is believed to have initiated talks with the government to resolve issues related to the project. The company is hoping to bring its Project Loon to India that will offer affordable internet access to millions. On his two-day visit to India, Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google India, said that “Project Loon will launch balloons in the sky to help reach out to rural areas.”

Google internet balloons

Pichai said that Project Loon will most likely move from pilot to full scale program to cover 300,000 villages in India. Currently, its pilot is running across 1,000 villages across three states. However, the government had shown concerns over the project and several central ministries–defence, home and civil aviation and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)–have raised technical and security concerns over the project.

Earlier, the Telecom Minister had maintained that the proposed frequency band to be used in the project is being used for cellular operations in India and it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions. At the same time, the civil aviation ministry had expressed concerns over the fact that balloons may interfere with flight paths and therefore should be monitored by Air Traffic Control (ATC). The home ministry had expressed concerns over external surveillance through them.

The defence ministry had said that the balloons might float over military establishments and may come in the way of military aircraft. Media reports said quoting a government official: “The most important concern is that of spectrum, rest of the issues can be take care of.”

Marian Croak, Vice-President of Access Strategy & Emerging Markets , said: “The biggest concern is that whether it would or not interfere with spectrum …and we believe we have an answer to that around spectrum sharing and that we’ve solved that issue, in terms of sharing spectrum so that it doesn’t create impedance.”

“We are testing these high altitude balloons which literally act as almost like floating cell towers… to connect people in hard to reach regions that are scarcely populated and we are working to hopefully bring Project Loon to India in rural communities that have very few people connected to the Internet,” Croak said.

The project can also play a role in LTE or 4G services. For providing the next generation services, Project Loon can partner with telecom companies to share cellular spectrum so that people will be able to access the internet everywhere directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. The project will provide internet connectivity from balloons floating at a height of 20 km above the earth’s surface on a pilot basis and it would connect remote areas of the country using LTE or 4G technology through the balloons, which can transmit as far as 40 km from their diameter.

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6 Comments on "‘Project Loon’ in India? Google to shoo away India’s concerns over the project"


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December 17, 2015 1:43 am 1:43 AM

Well well. Google is a tech major of our planet and when they are interested in helping rural areas in accessing Internet, Indian government shoud rather workout together with Google in dealing with the issues rather than making excuses to flunk. I mean this is all about helping rural population and I think this is one of the best tech initiatives to be planned by Indian govt. Digital India is not a dream anymore.

December 17, 2015 12:39 am 12:39 AM

Gud as per previous reports Google would most probably join it’s hands with BSNL for testing project Loon,so I hope so BSNL will use these Google balloons for launching their 4G Services via Band 41 by 2016 end!

December 16, 2015 8:57 pm 8:57 PM

Great thinking

Kiran Fernandes
December 16, 2015 10:39 pm 10:39 PM

Because this is not a Jio post, no one bothered to comment haha.

December 17, 2015 12:55 am 12:55 AM

Actually it is a bit too abstract. I mean with the red-tape & all, this project will probably never take off. So better not to get too excited about it! 😀

Kiran Fernandes
December 17, 2015 3:51 pm 3:51 PM
Honestly, It would be beneficial if this project takes off, but just not in the hands of bsnl. Jio taking off this project would be a fantastic idea. BSNL is lazy, and they will extend the duration of this project to another 2 years and not do anything. Ambani is definitely doing a whole lot of stuff and is not idle. BSNL Knows they are going to fail, but they revise all their packs and increase the tariff and dont bother about increasing the speed. Looks like they wont be able to survive after Jio counterattacks all the isps when… Read more »