project loon

Google’s balloon-powered Internet service will interfere with telecom spectrum transmissions of operators in India, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. The minister was answering a question in the Rajya Sabha and said that the proposed frequency on which Project Loon plans to operate will interfere with telecom spectrum, as indicated by this report by the Indian Express.

Project Loon is a network of balloons which float at about 20 kilometres above in the stratosphere which will help in providing Internet access to the most remote corners of the world. Google has teamed up with telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum which enables people to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices.

In February, Google said that it is working with the Indian government for implementing Project Loon. Mohammad Gawdat, VP of business Innovation at Google X, said that the technology giant will be looking at commercial format for the project by 2016 which will cover every inch of the Earth and that the company is working closely with governments across the world including India.

In India, it will be interesting to see who will partner with Google for Internet services. Remember that Project Loon connects to LTE-enabled devices. So far, 4G LTE services are only provided by Bharti Airtel and Aircel. There’s also Reliance Industries (RIL) with its ambitious 4G rollout plans.

OneWeb initiative

OneWeb, which raised $500 million in June from Bharti Enterprises, Virgin Atlantic and other investors, plans to provide high speed internet access globally via 648 satellites it intends to launch by 2019. The company, formerly known as WorldVu, plans to provide small user terminals which will connect to these satellites and transmit internet to the surrounding areas through LTE, WiFi, 2G and 3G. The company mentions its small cell terminals will be 3GPP compatible, enabling them for use with various telecom operators using their existing infrastructure.

Facebook’s plans for Internet via drones, satellites and lasers

In July, Facebook also said that it is working on delivering internet globally via a bunch of drones, satellites and lasers. According to founder Mark Zuckerberg internet signals will be beamed down from a plane or a satellite flying overhead, which will communicate to earth using accurate lasers to transfer data.

It’s worth noting that Facebook had acquired the UK based aerospace company Ascentra in 2014, to help it build connectivity aircraft. Ascentra had previously build the early versions of Zephyr, an unmanned solar-powered aircraft.