Google’s Loon project, which aims to provide Internet via hot air balloons, will disturb the telecom spectrum transmissions in India, stated telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. In a written reply during the Rajya Sabha Session Prasad said, “The proposed frequency band to be used in the Loon Project of Google is being used for cellular operations in India and it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions.”
The call drop issue is not new and this might raise another conflict of views in the country. India has been facing this issue from long due to the weak network connectivity and these balloons might hamper the same.
Project Loon is a network of balloons which will be floating 20 kms from the stratosphere and provide 4G/LTE network in a range of 40 kms on the ground. The project was started by Google to provide internet worldwide, even in the remote areas. The company has collaborated with telecommunication companies to share the spectrum.
The spectrum will connect to only 4G enabled devices. Currently, Airtel and Vodafone have launched their 4G services in India, with Reliance making an announcement to launch the services soon.
The project has been tested in countries like New Zealand and Australia. The power source for providing internet is based on solar power and wind, which will the power the devices attached with the balloon all day long.
Project Loon will certainly come as a boon in places where broadband/connectivity isn’t available in the country. However, due to this ongoing conflict with the telecom department, can India expect to see this happening any soon? This remains to be seen.