Loon and Telkom Kenya Provide Internet Service via Balloons

Loon, a California-based unit of Alphabet, and Telkom Kenya debuted 4G Internet service in central and western Kenya, a 31,000-square-mile area that includes the capital Nairobi. In preparation, over the last few months Loon launched 35 balloons 12 miles into the sky, above commercial airplanes. Previously, Loon provided Internet service via balloons in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria destroyed all the cell towers in 2017. Telecom executives are watching to see if Loon’s technology is reliable and profitable. Continue reading Loon and Telkom Kenya Provide Internet Service via Balloons

Facebook Tests Trans-Atlantic Data Transmission, Sets Record

Facebook engineers tested the transmission of information across a trans-Atlantic-Internet cable, claiming they set a record by pushing two-and-a-half-times more data than current methods. The test was based on hardware designed by the Nokia-owned R&D facility Bell Labs, and relied on optical fiber Facebook owns inside the America Europe Connect (AEC) undersea cable that spans from New York to Ireland. Facebook’s test is part of a trend whereby Internet companies, rather than infrastructure firms, are driving the evolution of the Internet. Continue reading Facebook Tests Trans-Atlantic Data Transmission, Sets Record

Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Several tech companies want to provide Internet access to developing nations via drones, satellites and balloons, but they all face obstacles, including getting approval to operate in foreign airspace and use radio spectrum to broadcast signals to the ground. Google already conducted its first tests of Project Loon, using high-altitude balloons, and OneWeb is at work on multiple satellites to deliver the Internet from space. Now Facebook is talking to several countries to create trial Internet broadcasts from drones. Continue reading Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Rocket Explosion is a Setback for Facebook’s Internet Program

A Falcon 9 rocket designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX exploded during a prelaunch test at Cape Canaveral yesterday, destroying a satellite and its payload that was scheduled to launch into orbit on Saturday. The accident marks a setback for Facebook’s effort to bring Internet access to the world. The satellite was a joint venture between the social giant and France’s Eutelsat Communications, part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to help get unconnected people online and lower the cost of Internet access. This particular satellite would have reached more than a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading Rocket Explosion is a Setback for Facebook’s Internet Program

Tech Companies Target Developing Countries for Web Expansion

Despite attempts by tech companies to make the Internet more accessible to people around the world, especially to those living in developing countries, the Internet’s growth has been decelerating. Facebook and Google have both invested in technologies such as satellites, drones and high-altitude balloons to deliver global Web access. However promising these efforts have been, global Web access has proven to be more contingent on whether people deem the Internet useful in the first place.  Continue reading Tech Companies Target Developing Countries for Web Expansion

Google’s Project Loon Advances, Balloons Are 10 Times Better

Google hopes to provide Internet access to unserved areas of the world using high-altitude balloons. When the company announced Project Loon a year ago many people were skeptical. Since then, Google announced that it has been able to extend balloon flight times and add mobile connectivity to the service. Recently, Loon has been providing as much as 22MB per second to a ground antenna and 5MB per second to a handset, success that suggests there will be ways to monetize the technology. Continue reading Google’s Project Loon Advances, Balloons Are 10 Times Better

Satellite-Imaging: Google to Acquire Skybox for $500 Million

Google is purchasing satellite startup Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash. Founded in 2009, Skybox designs lightweight, affordable satellites that record photos and video of Earth. Skybox employees will initially work with Google’s Maps unit. While Google says it is purchasing Skybox for its imaging capabilities, the search giant is also trying to provide the planet with fast Internet access via balloons, drones and satellites. The acquisition may be part of these larger efforts. Continue reading Satellite-Imaging: Google to Acquire Skybox for $500 Million

Google, Facebook Look to Expand Reach of Internet Access

Led by Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, Google’s plans to increase Internet access through satellites surge forward. In order to reach unwired regions, Google plans to spend an estimated $1 billion to $3 billion on a fleet of satellites. The project is expected to begin with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites. Both Google and Facebook are looking to increase revenue and earnings, and have pinpointed users in these remote regions to do so. Continue reading Google, Facebook Look to Expand Reach of Internet Access

Google Plans to Develop and Fund Global Wireless Networks

As part of its initiative to connect a billion or more new people to the Internet, Google is planning to build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa where connections are not currently available. According to people familiar with the strategy, the planned networks could also be used to improve the speeds of Internet connections in urban areas. Continue reading Google Plans to Develop and Fund Global Wireless Networks