Google to test Project Loon in US – FCC filing points to internet balloon pilot in 2016

Google’s research lab Project X is cooking up a potentially huge wireless project spanning all 50 states in the US, plus Puerto Rico.

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Google’s secretive department of moonshots, Project X, has filed documents with the FCC that could suggest it plans to begin testing Project Loon internet balloons in the US.  Google is seeking an experimental radio license from the Federal Communications Commission that would allow it to test wireless technologies across all 50 states in the US, as well as Puerto Rico, for two years beginning on January 1, 2016.  So far, Google’s main drive for Project Loon has been to bring the internet to parts of the world with poor broadband infrastructure by using a patchwork of networked balloons floating at 20km (60,000 feet) to beam 4G LTE signals back down to earth.  The company has been working on methods for scaling up production and testing its balloon technology, earlier this week revealing a facility that essentially brings the stratosphere down to earth.  Google seeks to build on earlier tests conducted in Winnemucca, Nevada, whose local council in 2014 had granted permission for the search giant to use its airport industrial park as a “temporary balloon launching facility”.  Additionally, and somewhat mysteriously, Google has applied to use frequencies in the 71GHz to 76GHz and the 81GHz to 86GHz ranges.  Those are extremely high-frequency ranges often linked with so-called millimetre wave technology that some network equipment vendors are exploring for 5G.  Google in 2014 sought to use these bands under an FCC application signed by the head of its Google Access division, driving speculation it was exploring its use for Google Fiber.

See on Scoop.itInternet of Things – Technology focus


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