Google is finally about to get the go ahead from the Indian government to run a pilot of Project Loon in India according to a report from the Economic Times. According to the sites source, an anonymous “top government official”, the nation is keen to test as many alternative methods of providing internet connectivity as possible. One of which is Google’s high-altitude balloons.
“We are trying to test the effectiveness of Loon in the interiors of the country, since there is already ample connectivity in urban areas,” said the official, who did not want to be identified.
Discussions are allegedly set to take place between Google and the National Informatics Center (NIC) this week to finalise the locations of the tests, as well as any other needs for the pilot to go ahead. If confirmed, it would mark the first time Google has been given the Indian government’s official blessing to test its sky-bound signal boosters. This follows on from talks with telecoms operators to provide the signal which took place in March.
Up until this point, Google has seen its attempts to run Project Loon tests rebuffed by various ministries in India. Those included the likes of the telecom, civil aviation plus home and defence ministries. Each had its own concern for the project, whether that be over spectrum, air space, security or surveillance.
Project Loon is far from being Google’s only dedicated solution for India. Recently, it launched free “High Speed” Wi-Fi access in the country’s largest train stations, and at a dedicated event, Sundar Pichai outlined ways in which Google was committed to India.
Google, of course, has long seen its Loon project as being ideal for countries like India where densely-populated cities are separated by hundreds of miles of land where comparatively few people live, but still need access to the internet.
It has already kicked off trials in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the US, and even signed an official deal to supply Indonesia with its helium and solar-powered internet connectivity. By the sounds of it, India could be next.