Google has been testing and making improvements to its Project Loon initiative over the past year or so, and it looks like some consumers will soon get to see just what the futuristic internet balloons can do. Announced today via the Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka, Google is planning to soon cover every inch of Sri Lanka with seamless access to affordable, high-speed internet. If done correctly, this will make Sri Lanka the first country in the world to have universal internet coverage.
In case you need a refresher, Project Loon uses balloons hovering around the stratosphere that transmit signals to the ground that can provide internet to remote or rural areas of the world. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera proclaims that he is “proud to declare that we are at the cusp of a reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world. In a few months we will truly be able to say: Sri Lanka. Covered”.
According to Phys.org, Google will begin releasing balloons to the stratosphere in the coming months until March 2016. Each balloon can stay aloft for approximately 100 days, and can also be adjusted by local internet providers to lower operational costs if need be.
Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to introduce mobile phones in 1989, and was also the first country in the region to roll out a 3G network in 2004. Back in 2013, the country received its first 4G network as well. Currently, there are around 2.8 million mobile internet connections in Sri Lanka, as well as 606,000 fixed-line Internet subscribers among the country’s more than 20 million population.
This is certainly a great place to start for Project Loon, and if all goes well, the internet initiative will likely roll out to larger regions in the future.