Google has been working on a project that they hope will be able to bring internet connectivity to rural areas in developing nations. It uses balloons that fly high in the sky, twice as high as airplanes to be exact, to deliver internet service to people down below. The product is now just about ready for testing by consumers, after a long and hard road.
First, Google couldn’t find the right type of balloon. They needed something that would be affordable and durable. They tried all different types before landing on a balloon that flew around the world 19 times in 187 days. At first, the technology they developed offered a slow internet connection. But now it can deliver speeds of up to 15mbps, which is more than enough to stream video and do everything most people do on the web nowadays.
By completing this project and making deals with local carriers in developing nations, Google hopes to bring internet to an astonishing 5 billion people who do not currently have it, within five to ten years. They have already tested the project in New Zealand and California, and now they plan to try it with the actual markets they are targeting. They plan to first test it in Indonesia as well as Sri Lanka. They gave the Sri Lankan government a stake in the project in exchange for access to their carriers. It will be exciting to see how this project changes the world.
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