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Google The Internet

Google Project Loon Balloons To Blanket Indonesia With Internet (thestar.com) 40

An anonymous reader writes: Google's Project Loon is set to deliver high-speed internet access to more than 100 million Indonesians. The Project Loon program will fly clusters of balloons as high as 60,000 feet above Earth to transmit high-speed Internet signals down to Earth at LTE speeds. Google has been working with mobile network operators; XL Axiata, Telkomsel, and Indosat. “The emotional distance of the world is shrinking, thanks to the communications we enjoy today,” said Sergey Brin, who oversees the X lab as Alphabet’s president.
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Google Project Loon Balloons To Blanket Indonesia With Internet

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  • Isn't there a helium shortage already?

    • MRI uses a lot of Helium to cool its powerful magnets, and the widespread use of MRI are gobbling up the supply of Helium

      Furthermore, only a tiny fraction of Helium has been harvested while most of the Helium are routinely thrown away into the atmosphere along with the burn off of benzene and other aromatic compounds on drilling rigs

    • Re:Helium? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Friday October 30, 2015 @08:19AM (#50831421)

      There's no practical reason you couldn't fill unmanned high altitude balloons with hydrogen.

      • There's no practical reason you couldn't fill unmanned high altitude balloons with hydrogen.

        Yes there is... They don't start, and stay, at high altitude. It's going to be a person on the ground filling those balloons up with helium. It's going to be a person on the ground recovering the big bag of boom bomb after a few weeks in the air. And if it gets lucky and comes down on top of power lines? Or if there's one errant spark or flame while being maintained?

        There's probably little safety regulation in I

  • Won't they just float away on the wind?

    Or are they tied down like that radar blimp that broke free over the east coast the other day.

    • I believe that floating places on the wind is part of the plan. When last I read about Project Loon, they were taking advantage of the wind blowing different directions at different altitudes and causing the balloons to adjust their altitude so as to travel in a big loop, over and over again.
    • are they tied down like that radar blimp that broke free over the east coast the other day.

      There aren't too many "60,000 feet" (in the /. summary) long balloon tethers out there. That's just shy of 12 miles (18 km).

  • Still experimental but I am happy to do what I can to help in testing it :-)

    Indonesia cell coverage for voice and data is pretty spotty. LTE does exist but mostly you get 3G on and off. It is always getting better, but it is a big place with rugged terrain built on volcanoes.
    In the major metros you do better coverage, but it is far from blanket coverage even when driving through the capitol city of Jakarta much less the smaller villages. The further east you go the less infrastructure there is to be found.

  • I previously looked-up high altitude balloons, and found figures of about $1 million every launch, with them only staying airborne maybe a week at a time.

    What's more, this isn't the middle of nowhere. TFA says Indonesia already has a widespread cellular telephone infrastructure:

    "in Indonesia, where there the number of mobile phones â" about 319 million â" outnumber people. But most of those phones donâ(TM)t connect to the Internet because users canâ(TM)t afford data plans"

    And with the h

  • There's 100 million unconnected computers in Indonesia? And will these things still fly with all that smoke and ash in the air?

  • I don't know what it is about Indonesia, but we have to block that country and prevent people from it from using our services. In our case all people joining from that country are doing it to use stolen credit cards and stolen paypal accounts. It's too bad really.

  • "The emotional distance of the world is shrinking, thanks to the communications we enjoy today"

    OK, that made me puke in my mouth just a bit. What a complete pile of marketing drek.

    Anyway of more interest when I heard of the project a few days ago, was how are these things powered? I assume they are solar... However I always figured the power necessary to transmit with enough power to be useful for anything would be well beyond what would be available through simple solar cells.

    I really have little idea how

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