Google announced today that its Project Loon initiative to provide Internet access from balloons is heading to Indonesia next year.
Google is partnering with three Indonesian telecommunications companies — Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata — Project Loon vice president Mike Cassidy wrote in a blog post today.
“Loon balloons act like floating cell phone towers in the sky,” Cassidy explained. “Flying on the winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, each one beams a connection down to the ground; as one balloon drifts out of range, another moves in to take its place. We hope this could help local operators extend the coverage of their existing networks, and reach further into rural and remote areas.”
Google previously tested Project Loon in New Zealand. The program, which was first announced in June 2013, is the kind of thing that could pay off for Google in the long run — just the sort of thing Google’s umbrella company, Alphabet, was intended to foster. Facebook has a similar Aquila drone initiative.
Google has already conducted tests of Project Loon across 17 million kilometers in Indonesia, according to a Google+ post on the news.