It’s two-and-a-half years since Google first shared details of Project Loon, a series of high-altitude balloons designed to provide wireless Internet access to developing countries where infrastructure is scarce. As testing expands, and we’ve learned more about the project’s progress, the FCC has started to receive objections from those concerned that the long-range microwave transmissions might pose health risks or interfere with other wireless operations.
Google has this week written to the FCC to argue that the balloons are both safe and legal …
“The proposed experimental operations in fact present vastly less risk from RF exposure than other transmissions the Commission routinely authorizes. Thus, although we respect that the commenters’ concerns are genuinely held, there is no factual basis for them,” Google wrote in the filing.
Google says that Loon will comply with all existing technical rules governing radio transmissions, and the power levels used will be well below legal limits. The company also says that it has taken extensive steps to guard against interference with other wireless activity.
Because Google has developed a robust non-interference methodology and has developed protocols for discontinuing transmissions if harmful interference is possible or reported, its operations do not pose a meaningful risk to existing licensees and should be approved.
Google wants to conduct tests across all 50 U.S. states for a period of two years.
Photo: AP Photo/Jon Shenk