FCC filing suggests Google expanding Project Loon in U.S.
Although Google’s Project Loon is being developed as a way to bring Internet access to underserved markets around the world, Google is still deploying the technology in mature markets like the U.S. Thus far Google has limited Project Loon’s presence in the U.S. to testing, but a new filing seeking to expand authorization from the FCC suggests Google may have some larger plans in the works.
The filing with the FCC is heavily redacted and does not specifically name Project Loon in the parts publicly accessible, it was signed by Google’s Astro Teller who heads up Google X, home to Project Loon. In the application, Google indicates that it is seeking permission to test wireless radios in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico. Google has asked for permission to start this testing as soon as January 1, 2016 and for up to 24 months.
Besides the application coming out of Google X, the filing indicates the tests are a continuation and expansion of testing that Google has already been conducting. Google has tested Project Loon in Nevada, so the project is consistent with Google’s description.
There has been some suggestion that this may point toward Google deploying Project Loon over the U.S. despite not seeming to be the initial target market type. However, Project Loon could provide connectivity to areas impacted by widespread outages from things like natural disasters. Testing over such a widespread geographic area controlled by a single government entity may also be a benefit for Google as they move closer to actual deployment around the globe and need to ensure the system works on a large scale.
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