Google high-altitude blimps aim to bring WiFi to Africa

May 27, 2013
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Lately there's been a lot of talk and news around Google being deeply involved in a new initiative to bring Wireless internet to places like Africa, and other emerging markets. This weekend we learned the search giant might use blimps or balloons they're calling high-altitude WiFi platforms.

The news of Google working hard to improve the internet access across Africa, Asia, and many other emerging markets is important, interesting, and wonderful. Even more interesting however, is just exactly how they plan to carry out this initiative. Instead of the traditional wired cables, they'll tackle the entire project from the air.

While last week the WSJ reported Google is developing low-price Android smartphones that will operate on WiFi using old radio and TV broadcast airwaves and spectrum, the second part of that plan are blimps. Some sources even state the Mountain View company is already deep into developing this next-gen platform for internet delivery.

These WiFi balloons or blimps will use "high-altitude platforms" to boost and deliver a wireless signal across an area spanning hundreds of square miles, or more. From Africa to Southeast Asia all getting access to the internet with this new plan Google estimates they'll be connecting nearly 1 billion people to the world wide web.

We're hearing small field trials have already started in Cape Town and other parts of Africa, and this is just the beginning. Google will be funding this while leading the charge the entire way. It looks like areas with poor telecommunications are about to get some Google-inspired internet services.

SOURCE: Wired


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  • chris hoagland

    interesting they recently bought an airborne wind power generator group, combine them and you have multiple uses

  • Jimmy Dole

    Do that for rural America too.

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      Well for now it’s aimed at “emerging markets” Not rural America.

      #firstworldproblems

  • Yusuf

    Netflix for Africa

    • Pierce L

      Because the Africans without internet access and with a lower standard of living than ours, want to watch Internet movies 24/7 for $100/yr, right?

  • whymoo

    They’re just trying to get their google ads out to more people, they’re not doing this because they’re nice.

    • http://tech.gtaero.net/ Navarr Barnier

      Can’t it be both?

    • TeenCook

      Unlike Apple,at least they are doing something for people.

      • Pierce L

        Eh? Last time I checked, Apple was just as profit-motivated as Google. At the very least, Apple doesn’t hide its true business philosophy behind a veil of “don’t be evil…”

      • Pierce L

        We never heard just how fast the internet would be anyway… if it’s as slow as dial-up then Netflix will be flat-out pointless.

    • D Bach

      True…but some of the biggest technological innovations made throughout history was done for either financial or military dominance. Being nice isn’t, typically, factored into a good business model.

    • craw

      so we should shut down the internet world wide because people use it to make money?

    • http://www.facebook.com/bob.level.92 Bob Level

      As opposed to all the other corporations that only have altruistic intentions and never want to make money? There is a notion called ‘Win-Win’.

  • bluelightzero

    Holy crap google sky view!

  • Johnny Roque

    Business innovation, controlling both supply and demand for a product, Iron Man 3 business lesson.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nick.sem.104 Nick Sem

    Now Muslims can have access to their terrorist brethren across the globe, but they will use it mostly for porn

    • Pierce L

      Whoa, whoa, whoa.

      • http://www.facebook.com/nick.sem.104 Nick Sem

        you know I telling the truth

  • Bee Sting

    Go home you are nuts, pleas stop exposing your foolishness and idiocy

    Google high-altitude blimps aim to bring WiFi to Africa ,< who told you there is no wifi in Africa? be specific which places when you are writing your rubbish.. you cow!

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      lol are you mad bro.. One sentence doesn’t mean the entire area. So chill out “cow”

      If you actually read it instead of yelling at me, you’d see I mention field testing in Cape Town, and in general it coming to sub-Saharan Africa.

      • sadfsdf

        sfsadfaa

      • Pierce L

        Such an insightful comment. Heartening to see that people are still capable of deep thinking these days.

      • FrillArtist

        Africa is a huge continent and making a generalizing headline like that only shows how stupid you are. If it is in Cape Town, say Cape Town. Africa isn’t one country or city.

    • matt

      relax foo

  • wober2

    yeah here in idaho you do not have to go far until the only internet providers that will reach you are satelite… which kind of sucks.

  • huge dongs are long

    Oh for fuck’s sake, that’s a US or ISAF blimp in Afghanistan that somebody photoshopped Google onto. You can see the HESCOs in the background.

  • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com/ Silver Fang

    So are these blimps just going to float in the air 24/7 to provide wifi access? What about when they need to refuel?

  • Dimitar Dobrev

    This is espionage do not kid yourselves.

    • itchy8me

      what they going to be spying on, starving kids?

      • Dimitar Dobrev

        yes. and everybody else. this is a tool for data mining. a means by which exploitation can continue. no such thing as a free lunch.

  • fuck you

    I know quite a few people from Africa, Egypt to be specific…There’s wifi there… shouldn’t there be food on this blimp instead?

  • Max Headroom

    This is cool, but the stupidest thing i have ever heard of. Africa??? Why not the U.S. or Europe, A place where there is a real market for it. And I agree what about refueling? reliability? I would think it would make more sense to put up towers to put those non wired wifi devices on, and would cost far less… sustainability!