Project Loon is about to get real. Google is seeking a carrier partner to conduct a full-scale pilot program in India, according to The Economic Times. Google is talking to several telco’s but is reportedly close to an agreement with BSNL to provide the local carrier network the Project Loon trial run will need.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of Google’s demonstration of the portable “auto-launcher” crane that can fill, lift and launch a Loon balloon in 30 minutes. Once afloat, the balloons can remain in the stratosphere for 100 days, communicating with one another and beaming internet back down to earth.
Unlike Facebook’s Free Basics service – which India banned – Google’s project will offer unrestricted internet access. Testing Project Loon in the most populous region on earth will provide a prime opportunity for Google to demonstrate just how viable the one-time moonshot idea really is. Barring any unforeseen problems, this might be the last time we talk about Project Loon in the future tense.
What are your thoughts on Project Loon? Did you ever imagine it would get this far?