Google Will Provide An Entire Country With Internet Using Balloons

The latest balloon from the Google Loon project, the Nighthawk.

The Sri Lankan government has announced plans this week to partner with Google to better distribute Internet throughout the country using balloons.

For some time now, the U.S. company has been developing and working on prototype balloons that can transmit high-speed Internet across an entire country.

This partnership with Sri Lanka will provide the perfect beta test for the balloons, especially with the country’s current Internet conditions.

Sri Lanka is inhabited by a population of just over 22 million people. But the country is not that well-connected as there are only an estimated 2.8 million mobile Internet connections and 606,000 wired connections.

While neither the government in Sri Lanka nor Google have given a definite timetable for launch, foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera declared that "in a few months we will truly be able to say: Sri Lanka. Covered."

Collaborating with aerospace designer Raven Aerostar, Project Loon’s latest incarnation of the Internet balloon is the Nighthawk.

The Nighthawk works through the use of long-term evolution (LTE) antennas, which can send data to mobile phones using the existing 4G mobile network, and transmit information between in-flight balloons and to stations on the ground.

Google claims these balloons will stay airborne for 100 days before coming back down to Earth.

[H/T: Popular Science]

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