A balloon-delivered wireless service project that began as a part of Google in 2013 might soon be spun off into its own company.
Just a week ago, we reported that Google’s parent company was granted an experimental license from the FCC to operate Project Loon balloons in Puerto Rico to deliver wireless service. Curiously enough, as Business Insider points out, this FCC filing lists the filing organization as “Loon Inc.” While this may have been due to administrative reasons, “Loon Inc.” could indicate that Alphabet is ready to spin out Project Loon into its own company.
The recent FCC filing lists the filing organization as 'Loon Inc,' meaning Alphabet might be ready to spin out Project Loon into its own company.
This wouldn’t be an unprecedented move as Project Loon shares a very similar history to Waymo, Google’s former self-driving unit that is now a full-fledged autonomous driving startup. Just like Waymo, Project Loon started out as a small part of Google and currently operates inside X, Alphabet’s semi-secret research and development facility. It has only been tested in an extremely limited number of places although its success in Peru this past May is indicative of its potential.
If the rumors are true and Alphabet intends for Project Loon to be its next spinoff company, it could mean that the company has substantive faith in the project. After all, Loon balloons could play an important role in providing access to cellular and Internet connectivity not just in rural areas around the world but also in emergency situations, as evinced by situations in Peru and Puerto Rico.