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Google's Project Loon Balloons May Cover Sri Lanka With Internet Access 35

Zothecula writes: Sri Lanka is set to become the first country with universal Internet access after signing a memorandum of understanding with Google to use the company's Project Loon balloons. Officials say there is not a timetable for when the balloons will be covering the 25,000 square mile nation, but this is a crucial first step. The Foreign minister noted that "from this event onwards advertisements or headlines saying “Matara covered” or “Jaffna covered” will become a part of history." And concluded his speech saying that he was "proud to declare that we are at the cusp of a reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world. In a few months we will truly be able to say: Sri Lanka, Covered."
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Google's Project Loon Balloons May Cover Sri Lanka With Internet Access

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    How are the balloons going to stay in one place?

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      As I understand it, they plan to keep the balloons approximately in place by using the different wind directions at higher and lower altitudes to steer. I'll believe it when I see it.
    • By raising & lowering the balloons between opposing jetstreams.

      Been a while since I needed this, but: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=project+loon&l=1 [lmgtfy.com].

      • First, you have to be really lucky to find a place that has directly opposig winds at different nearby altitudes. This is what makes Albuquerque such a favorite place for ballooning.

        Then...what happens to your broadband signal as the balloon changes altitude while whiffling all over the place trying to keep station?

        • First, you have to be really lucky to find a place that has directly opposig [sic] winds at different nearby altitudes. This is what makes Albuquerque such a favorite place for ballooning.

          I thought TFA is talking about the project in Sri Lanka?

          • My point is that Sri Lanka does not have Albuquerque's ideal ballooning wind pattern, so the envisioned usage for broadband distribution is going to be even more problematic.

  • I really hope that "proud to declare that we are at the cusp of a reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world." made a lot more sense before some translator mangled it; because otherwise it seems like absurd nonsense. If people were connected long enough and far enough back in time for it to count as 'heritage', the technology behind those connections must have been comparatively primitive. Is he saying that communications have regressed since that time? What golden a
    • I suspect that he is referring to the fact Sri Lanka was a huge trade node during the 15th to 18th centuries.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Different trading companies had spice investments.
      The UK had its large HMS Anderson (1941-57) sigint station and later the GCHQ had its Perkhar (1957-65) listening station (four hundred acres) in Sri Lanka.
      It was one of the best sites the UK had in the Indian Ocean.
  • Maybe an idea like this could be used in countries whose governments want to squelch free speech. Radio Free Europe did this kind of thing during the Cold War, broadcasting ideas that weren't welcome in the Eastern Bloc. Satellite-based Internet is out of reach for most citizens of such countries, but maybe not something based lower down, like in the stratosphere.

    • by jstuxx ( 4202009 )
      I think that's exactly the idea, use the Internet to start revolutions in other countries so they can install puppet regimes in power. It happened in Eastern Europe, now all the Eastern European countries are failed puppet banana republics. This makes even more sense when you realize that the Internet was created by the US military.
  • If you assume 100% coverage of the land mass you are looking at between 1600 & 1700 balloons! And that is assuming that you don't build in an overlap.

    I would so love to know how they plan to handle the movement of the balloons. I understand the principal of moving them up or down to get them into different wind streams but how are they doing the height adjustment in such a way that they can stay up for extended periods? Nothing on their website.

  • Bandwidth is going to be tight on a large-scale wireless network. I hope Google have some plans for a distributed caching system too, because they are going to need it if they want video distribution to work.

  • "we are at the cusp of a reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world" He has a wrong idea of the Internet if he things its goal is to connect people. The Internet's job is the exact opposite to divide people. Divide and conquer was the Roman Empire's strategy and guess what they ended up being the longest reigning empire in history. Take a look on the Internet, it's mostly hate speech: racism (all races are targeted not just blacks, in-fact whites are the most targe
    • by jstuxx ( 4202009 )
      P.S. Not to mention the health effects of having microwaves blasted on the entire population on the entire country's territory.
  • So Google at last becomes Skynet Mwah ha ha
  • by Shoten ( 260439 )

    "proud to declare that we are at the cusp of a reclaiming our heritage of being connected to each other and connected to the world..."

    What, were there modem hookups in the trees before that got wiped out once broadband started to be deployed? I don't remember Sri Lanka ever being the pinnacle of connectivity to the rest of the world...

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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