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Definition: Project Loon


A wireless communications system from Google aimed at providing affordable Internet access to everyone in the world, especially those who currently have extremely slow access or none at all. Test trials began in New Zealand in 2013.

Using helium balloons traveling in wind currents several miles above airplanes and weather, solar-powered radios bounce LTE signals from earth stations to users on the ground at about 10 Mbps. To extend the distance, balloons can transmit to other balloons, and each one can last about six months. For more information, visit www.google.com/loon.

Loon is reminiscent of the Teledesic project in the 1990s that attempted to form a network of satellites for Internet access. See Teledesic.




Getting Ready
Workers unfurl the balloons to get them ready to launch into the stratosphere. (Image courtesy of Google).






Balloons Act Like Cell Towers
Each balloon covers an area about 35 miles in diameter. (Image courtesy of Google).