Internet - March 6, 2024


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) via Google and different subsidiaries have invested jointly over the past decade to make high-pace net accessible to billions of more people.

Instead of steeply-priced rollouts of cell towers or fibre cables, it has considered or examined blimps, satellites, drones and lasers. Other organisations are pursuing such technology. But Alphabet has discovered balloons to be the most commercially viable option for now. Here are more details on its internet balloon unit Loon, consistent with the business enterprise.


The begin-up changed into incubated in Google’s research lab in 2011. Loon was spun out as an Alphabet subsidiary in July 2018.

Loon is positioned in Mountain View, California, wherein it has a round-the-clock flight operations centre.

Balloons are crafted from thin plastic and packed with helium. They weigh about one hundred sixty-five pounds which include an air pump and convey an extra 165 pounds or so of solar panels, antennas and another gadget. Each balloon is about as lengthy and comprehensive as a tennis court docket when fully pressurised in the stratosphere at 60,000 ft.

Balloons take off from custom release pads in Nevada and Puerto Rico. The gadgets navigate and trade altitude with the assist of far off manipulate and algorithms.

Balloons descend via parachute at approximately 12 mph, or about the rate of a skydiver.

Loon coordinates with air-visitors control officers in all international locations wherein it operates. Onboard transponders percentage every balloon’s region.

Networking equipment inside the balloon connects to a floor station or satellite. Each aircraft provides insurance over approximately 2,000 square miles. But balloons also can relay the internet connection between each different, extending their range without the want for the new floor system.

Balloons may be placed above almost any spot on Earth in multiple weeks or less. Units can be delivered or removed depending on insurance needs, and their components may be recycled for different uses.

The lifespan of every balloon is best around five months due to the fact its plastic degrades. The gadgets are reliant on winds to navigate and the sun to strengthen their networking gadget. Their presence has generated safety worries from a few aviation governments.


Telefonica (TEF.MC) used Loon balloons to supplant cell phone towers knocked offline using natural disasters in 2017 and 2019. Loon partnered with AT&T (T.N) and T-Mobile (TMUS.O) to offer coverage in Puerto Rico after the 2017 storm. Loon is slated to start assessments with Telkom Kenya in coming months.

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