Google's Project Loon will cover the entirety of Sri Lanka with internet coverage


Project Loon is undoubtably one of the most "Google" projects that Google is working on — Wi-Fi being delivered by giant floating balloons is certainly a unique approach to getting internet to hard-to-reach areas. While Project Loon still sits in the Google X "moonshots" lab, it got a huge vote of confidence from the nation of Sri Lanka, which announced yesterday it would use Project Loon to cover the island nation with internet. This would make Sri Lanka the first country to have universal internet coverage; the country's relatively small size (just over 25,000 square miles) certainly makes that easier, but it's still a big vote of confidence for Project Loon.
The plan calls for Google to work with Sri Lanka's local internet providers to let them use Project Loon balloons to enhance their service, so it sounds like Project Loon won't be an internet free-for-all for whoever wants it. Individual balloons are slated to be in the air for 100 days at this point, and the company hopes to start launching these balloons by next March. It's worth remembering that Project Loon is only delivering "3G" speeds, so this isn't a network that'll allow for heavy bandwidth activities — but on the other hand, just over 3 million of Sri Lanka's 20 million citizens have any sort of internet access, so Project Loon will significantly change things for a huge part of the country should it launch successfully.

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