You likely remember Google’s stratospheric balloon-powered internet distribution initiative known as Project Loon. Well now, after two years of enhancements and testing the company is ready to launch in Sri Lanka. In fact, it is set to provide the entire country with high-speed internet.
Created in conjunction with X Labs, Project Loon balloons beam out signals to the ground enabling for much wider internet coverage that includes even remote rural areas. According to reports, the foreign minister of Sri Lanka, Mangala Samaraweera, said that Google is scheduled to begin launching the stratospheric balloons in the next few months, right up until March of 2016. As you might remember, these things can stay in the air for around 100 days or so, and will allow Sri Lankan internet providers to bring down operational costs via the new airborne distribution system.
Local national outlets are stating that Sri Lanka could be “the first country in the world to have universal internet coverage” due to the wide ranging coverage made possible by Project Loon. While the country is but a fraction of the size of Texas, there are millions of internet users there and likely even more after Loon is launched.
It is certainly a small case study for the alternative internet distribution system, but the manageble size and bustling online community of the nation will likely make it good testing ground. It is safe to assume that, if this goes well, Loon will spread its wings to other places looking to provide cost effective and near boundless internet access.