Google’s Project Loon to bring the Internet within reach of 100 million Indonesians starting in 2016

Project Loon

Google’s Project Loon that started a few years ago, has made progress promising to help 100 million people in Indonesia access high speed internet giving them access to the limitless educational, cultural, and economic opportunities of the Internet. Even though it’s not clear when that will happen, Google is currently doing tests with three major mobile networks;  Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata to use their balloons to beam internet to the masses. In an official blog-post Google is quoted saying;

Starting next year, the top three mobile network operators in Indonesia will begin testing Project Loon balloon-powered Internet. Over the next few years, we’re hoping that Loon will help put high-speed LTE Internet connections within reach of more than 100 million Indonesians, giving them access to the limitless educational, cultural, and economic opportunities of the Internet.

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Being a country with irregular terrain, there are many areas in which installing internet infrastructure would be very difficult which makes project Loon an excellent idea. Loon balloons act like floating cell phone towers in the sky. Flying on the winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, each one beams a connection down to the ground; as one balloon drifts out of range, another moves in to take its place. We hope this could help local operators extend the coverage of their existing networks, and reach further into rural and remote areas.

Aside from project Loon, Google also has the Android One project that wants to put an Android handset in the hands of every one in the third world countries. Recently the Android One project came as far as Nigeria with the Infinix Hot 2 smartphone at only $80. However Google isn’t the only one trying to get the world connected. Facebook is trying to do something similar with it’s Internet.org project. On whether they are actually helping or trying get more eyeballs for ads is a question that remains to be answered.