Google Balloons and a New Horizon of VoIP Phone Service

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Google Balloons and a New Horizon of VoIP Phone Service Google Balloons and a New Horizon of VoIP Phone ServiceGoogle Balloons and a New Horizon of VoIP Phone Service


25 June 2013

Up! Up! Up! Google has recently revealed its new plan to bring Internet to the world through high-altitude balloons.

Google seems to appreciate a sense of humor of the “Loon”y project, but its widespread effect is quite serious. Only one-third of the world is currently connected to the Internet. This new idea will give people greater access to information and open up communication between communities and countries.

The huge balloons have WiFi transmitters attached to them. The balloons are solar powered and store up energy during the day so they can stay afloat at night. The balloons cruise in the stratosphere as they beam Internet signals back to Earth. Users connect to the balloons through special antennas attached to their homes.

This big idea has big goals. On Google’s website they stress that this project can help people in several different areas. It can help children access secondary education, it can help farmers access better weather information, it can help populations connect to medical information, and it can help small business owners grow their business. Project Loon also opens up the possibility of cheaper Internet phone service.

“Leap Frogging” from a Balloon

Currently, 6 billion of the 7 billion people on Earth have access to a mobile phone. Many people in developing nations use their phones as the family’s computer. This tech phenomenon is called “leap frogging”. Free WiFi access not only makes it cheaper and easier to connect to the Internet, free WiFi also makes it cheaper to connect through phones calls.

VoIP Calls Through a Balloon

Internet calling is one of the cheapest means of communication today. Internet calling, which is called “VoIP”, allows users to make and receive phone calls using the Internet. VoIP calls often cost pennies a minute, if not free.

Google’s WiFi balloons would make it cheap for rural communities to connect to outside areas. The balloons would also help areas hit by natural disasters quickly connect to emergency services like the police and hospitals.

A Few Grounded Issues

Google still has a few issues to work out before the balloons can take flight. The main complication is international politics. Several countries are wary of allowing an American company to fly overhead. The number one concern is that the balloons might be used for US spying, a concern that Google is passionately denying.

When to Expect Project Loon

Google is still testing out the balloons in rural areas of New Zealand. There are currently 30 balloons above the rural South Island area of New Zealand. So far testers have found that the balloons produce fast 3G network speed, which is a vast improvement compared to the spotty Internet service they’ve been using.

Google hopes that the Internet connection provided by the balloons will eventually be used worldwide, and hopes to increase Internet access from one in three people, to close to 100%.

Between cheap Internet and cheap phone calls, maybe the answer to world wide communication is up in the clouds inside of the telephones lines in the ground.

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