Google’s Project Loon has been facing setbacks for sometime now to kickstart in India. However, according to a new report from Economic Times suggests that Google’s ambitious project may soon take off in India.
The Communications and IT Ministry is finally in talks with Google to conduct Project Loon on pilot basis. The pilot is expected to take off in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, however, the testing will be allowed only for four days. Earlier in March, the government had asked Google to resubmit a fresh proposal for testing Project Loon. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been given the responsibility to decid on the location and other requirements for the pilot. As per the report, discussions between Google’s Loon team and NIC are expected to happen this week.
The report quoted an official,
We are trying to test the effectiveness of Loon in the interiors of the country, since there is already ample connectivity in urban areas.
The Google’s project was rejected as one of the concerns was that the spectrum band required by Google for the transmission – 700 MHz to 900 MHz – is currently occupied by telecom service providers and could lead to interference with cellular transmissions. In addition, he civil aviation ministry feared that the balloons may interfere with flight paths.
On the location, the official said,
We will identify the location and then approach the Civil Aviation ministry for permission. It will be done like in the case of joy rides—we will provide specifics in terms of the starting and closing time of the pilot for them to be adequately informed.
Rajan Anandan, Google’s Managing Director for South East Asia and India has said in March that the company is initiating talks with telecom operators in India to pilot its Project Loon initiative. Project Loon is Google’s program where it beams high-speed WiFi internet via balloons down to remote areas in developing countries. Each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40 km in diameter using 4G LTE. Started in 2013, the Project Loon has run its experimental pilot in New Zealand, California’s Central Valley, northeast Brazil, South Africa, Sri Lanka (in February), as well as in Indonesia.