View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
  2. Networks
June 17, 2014

Google connects remote Brazilian school to web using ‘Loon’ balloon

Celebrates anniversary with first ever LTE connection.

By Ben Sullivan

Google has successfully used one of its giant helium-filled balloons to deliver mobile internet to a school in Brazil.

In the week of the project’s one year anniversary, a ‘Loon’ connected a school called Linoca Gayosa to the internet for the first time ever, and is the first case of Google successfully testing its LTE delivery.

Project Loon, started by Google last June, uses fleets of helium balloons that fly at an altitude twice that of a commercial airliner to circumnavigate the globe beaming mobile internet to rural areas. By next June, Google hopes to have a fleet of 300 to 400 Loons which can stay aloft for over 100 days delivering internet connections worldwide in hard to reach areas.

The Loons can reportedly dish out speeds of 22MB per second to ground receiving equipment and 5MB per second to mobiles.

Google said in a blog post yesterday: "This test flight marked a few significant ‘firsts’ for Project Loon as well. Launching near the equator taught us to overcome more dramatic temperature profiles, dripping humidity and scorpions. And we tested LTE technology for the first time; this could enable us to provide an Internet signal directly to mobile phones, opening up more options for bringing Internet access to more places."


Project Loon team members install a Loon Internet antenna while the schoolchildren look on. Image: Google

Content from our partners
AI is transforming efficiencies and unlocking value for distributors
Collaboration along the entire F&B supply chain can optimise and enhance business
Inside ransomware's hidden costs

"Project Loon began with a pilot test in June 2013, when thirty balloons were launched from New Zealand’s South Island and beamed Internet to a small group of pilot testers. The pilot test has since expanded to include a greater number of people over a wider area," said Google.

"Looking ahead, Project Loon will continue to expand the pilot through 2014, with the goal of establishing a ring of uninterrupted connectivity around the 40th southern parallel, so that pilot testers at this latitude can receive continuous service via balloon-powered Internet."

Each ‘Loon’ can communicate with other Loons, never straying out of the network and away from users that need their service. The balloons are actually controllable from the ground. "Is it possible to have a nicely spaced out flock of balloons? The answer is yes. Once people could see this was possible, it became a feasible project, not some crazy science project," said Dan Piponi from Project Loon.

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.