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January 20, 2015

Google wants the US’ wireless spectrum for balloon-based internet

by John_A

Google's Project Loon

Google’s internet-by-air effort, Project Loon, isn’t necessarily limited to countries where data coverage is frequently spotty; it might be headed to the US, too. The search firm recently sent a letter to the FCC suggesting that potentially available high-frequency spectrum (above 24GHz) should be handy for providing “broadband access via airborne platforms” like balloons and drones, not just on-the-ground networking. In other words, it’s open to deploying Project Loon stateside beyond limited test runs.

This doesn’t amount to a launch roadmap, and Google isn’t commenting on the letter. However, the idea is technically feasible. Improvements to wireless technology have made ultra-wideband wireless useful for networking where it was previously restricted to very short-range uses, like PC peripherals. The FCC will still have to parcel out these frequencies before companies like Google can even consider using them. All the same, the letter hints at a future where rural Americans don’t have to lean on expensive satellite connections (or get lucky with cable, DSL and fiber rollouts) to receive high-speed internet access.

Filed under: Networking, Internet, Google

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Via: Wall Street Journal

Source: FCC (PDF)

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