Alphabet’s Project Loon balloons to deliver Internet to Indonesia’s islands – Computerworld

Alphabet aims to bring the Internet within the reach of some 100 million people in Indonesia through its Project Loon balloons flying 20 kilometers above the earth.

The company said Thursday that the country’s top three mobile network operators—Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata—have agreed to test the balloon-powered LTE Internet connections over Indonesia next year.

Project Loon, started in June 2013,  aims to use a network of balloons floating on the edge of space to connect people in rural and remote areas. The project partners with local telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum, and the balloons relay wireless traffic from mobile phones and other devices to the Internet using high-speed links, according to the website of the project. By moving with the wind, the balloons can be arranged to form one large communications network that helps telecommunications services providers extend their networks.

The use of balloons to fill coverage gaps where traditional broadband connectivity cannot reach is particularly relevant in Indonesia which is an archipelago of over 17,000 islands with jungles and mountains.

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