Google’s Project Loon is an ambitious plan to float internet into the life of anyone who is currently without. But after a series of setbacks, the service is finally going to be tested by carriers this year.
Re/code reports from the annual TED conference in Vancouver that the project has come out the side of a troubled stage stronger than before. With tweaks to the design, the balloons can now be made more cheaply but still navigate accurately — in fact, one balloon is said to have travelled around the world 19 times in 187 days last year.
Carriers have been involved with the project for a while, though the system has never been tested properly on consumer networks. Now at a stage where it can provide a 15 Mbps connection, Google is partnering with carriers in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and beyond and it hopes to test the aerial networks in anger with these real-life carriers some time this year. This may yet work. [Re/code]