UPDATE Since 2011, Loon, a company that began as a Google moonshot project and spun into a standalone company under Alphabet, has been attempting to bring internet to the world’s most remote corners via stratospheric helium balloons, Inside Towers reported. Now, the company acknowledges it can’t accomplish this task on its own; Loon is entering a partnership with Canadian telecommunications company Telesat, reported The Verge.
The deal will see Loon’s custom software service for managing its LTE balloon fleet be put to use controlling Telesat’s new constellation of low Earth orbit satellites.
“The opportunity is bigger than any one of us,” says Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth.
In an attempt to overcome the global hurdle for connecting 3.5 billion people who don’t have access to the internet, the company wants to offer newer solutions that it believes are more cost-effective like satellites in low Earth orbit, stratospheric balloons, and airships. Loon and Telesat want to find a patchwork of different approaches all targeting different segments of the connectivity problem, reported The Verge.
The partnership will bring Loon a new line of revenue, turning its software for controlling non-stationary aerial networks into a viable product for the satellite industry, which is now eyeing the lower portion of Earth’s atmosphere as a lucrative and untapped market.
Loon says its software has become an instrumental system for controlling the network traffic for the company’s LTE service in areas like Brazil, Peru, and elsewhere where the company has performed field tests, including bringing Puerto Rico back online after Hurricane Maria, Inside Towers reported.
February 1, 2019