Friday, January 22, 2021

Google cancels Project Loon

Google is saying goodbye to Project Loon, its long-running effort to bring broadband connectivity to rural areas via free-floating balloons. The moonshot project launched in 2013 with a mission to deliver Internet access to "all the world's people" including remote locations on every continent." 

In a blog posting, Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Loon, said the company simply did not find a way "to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business."

Among the Loon team's achievements was discovering a way to fly a lighter-than-air vehicle for hundreds of days in the stratosphere. The team built systems to launch its balloons and developed a communications system capable of delivering mobile internet coverage over an 11,000 square kilometer area — 200x that of an average cell tower.


HAPSMobile completes first stratospheric flight with Loon payload

 HAPSMobile, a start-up backed by SoftBank with minority investment by AeroVironment, reached an altitude of 62,500 feet (approximately 19 kilometers) during the fifth test flight for “Sunglider,” a solar-powered unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”) designed for stratospheric telecommunications platform systems. The test flight, which took place on September 21, 2020 (MT) at Spaceport America in New Mexico, lasted a total 20 hours and 16 minutes,...

Loon enters commercial service in Kenya

Alphabet's Loon division began providing broadband service via balloon to subscribers of Telkom Kenya. The service footprint spans nearly 50,000 square kilometers across western and central parts of Kenya, including the areas of Iten, Eldoret, Baringo, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii, Bomet, Kericho, and Narok. Loon is using a fleet of around 35 or more separate balloons circulating in the stratosphere. The company is aiming to add balloons over...

Google's Loon balloons working with AT&T

Google's Loon balloon initiative, which has undergone limited field deployments in Puerto Rico and Peru, is working with AT&T and its global partners to extend its reach to new markets. Specifically, Loon is looking to leverage the AT&T network to expands the number of operators around the world that Loon can work with without having to complete time-intensive network integration for each one. The collaboration is expected to save valuable...

Google Loon to fly over the Peruvian Amazon

Peru is likely to be the first country in Latin America in which the "Loon" Internet-via-balloon service will operate Specifically, Loon and Internet para Todos Per├║ (IpT) have reached an agreement to use high-altitude balloons to expand mobile internet access to parts of the Peruvian Amazonia. The companies aim to provide service to Telef├│nica customers in Peru in 2020. Loon, which is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, uses...

SoftBank looks to solar-powered aircraft, partnership with Google Loon

SoftBank is launching a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business through HAPSMobile, a joint venture between SoftBank and US-based company AeroVironment. HAPSMobile has developed an unmanned aircraft called “HAWK30 that will serve as a telecommunications platform at altitudes of approximately 20 kilometers. The aircraft will function like telecommunication base stations to deliver connectivity across wide areas. The “HAWK30” unmanned aircraft...