Google's balloon broadband hits 22Mbits/sec

Project Loon will be able to offer connectivity to users by next year

16 Jun 2014

Google's broadband-delivering balloons will actually be able to deliver internet connectivity to users next year, and can already offer 22Mbit/sec download speeds.

Project Loon one of the efforts from Google X, the company's innovation lab, and looks to deliver internet connectivity to rural areas via large weather balloons.

In an interview with Wired to mark the first anniversary of the project, Google said the "moonshot" effort is actually paying off.

“This is the poster child for Google X,” said division head Astro Teller. “The balloons are delivering 10x more bandwidth, 10x steer-ability, and are staying up 10x as long. That’s the kind of progress that can only happen a few more times until we’re in a problematically good place.”

The balloons are delivering 10x more bandwidth, 10x steer-ability, and are staying up 10x as long

A year ago, the balloons would only say in the air for a few days, and could only offer speeds up to 2Mbits/sec, the Wired report said.

Google claimed it will soon be able to keep the balloons aloft for 100 days, already managing as much as 75 days, offering speeds of 22Mbits/sec to an antenna and 5Mbits/sec to a handset.

The success of Project Loon means it could be offering service by it's second birthday next June.

“On Loon’s two-year birthday, I would hope, instead of running experiments, we’ll have a more or less permanent set of balloons," he told the magazine. "In one or several countries, you will turn on your phone and talk to the balloons... Yes, Loon will be offering service."

The company also noted that Project Loon isn't only about delivering internet connectivity to rural or unserved areas, but could help pay for itself by filling in dead spots for a fee.

Google's also looking to boost the globe's internet coverage via satellites and drones.

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