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One of Google’s most ambitious and important projects reaches a new milestone

Published Nov 17th, 2014 3:10PM EST
Google Project Loon

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Do you remember life before the Internet? Younger generations in developed countries will likely find it hard to imagine, but there was once a time when information wasn’t always a few taps or clicks away. Now, whether you’re in your home or on the go, the world’s information is always at your fingertips. Of course, there are still billions of people who do not have the same easy access to the web that many of us take for granted. In fact, more people than you might imagine have never accessed the Internet at all in their lifetimes.

But Google is trying to change that.

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Project Loon is one of Google’s most important and ambitious projects to date — at least, among the projects we know about. The goal of Loon is to bring Internet access to the entire world.

Ambitious indeed.

The company’s strategy involves a far-reaching network of high altitude balloons that beam wireless web access to people on the ground below. Google has tested Loon in the U.S. and in New Zealand before — though not without incident — but now a major new milestone has been reached: For the first time, Google will soon begin testing its Project Loon balloons with a carrier partner.

According to the Australian Associated Press, Google and wireless carrier Telstra will begin testing Project Loon in Australia next month. In the test, 20 balloons will float about 12.5 miles above Queensland, Australia and beam down Telstra signal to the people below.

Project Loon has been in development since 2011, and Google’s hope is that its Loon balloons will bring Internet access (and Google’s services and ads) to every corner of the populated Earth. The balloons will also hopefully keep wireless service alive in areas impacted by disasters that would have otherwise taken down networks.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.