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Google’s Ambitious Project Loon Gets In Principle Compliance From Indian Regulatory Authorities

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Google’s plan to instigate Project Loon in Indian periphery has been facing headwinds from Indian authorities right from its inception. However, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, in his very first visit to India, has managed to get around these roadblocks and will soon get his project kicked off with full compliance from the country’s executives.

A brief on Project Loon – Project Loon began in June 2013 with an experimental pilot in New Zealand, where a small group of Project Loon pioneers tested Loon technology. Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather.

Loon balloons go where they’re needed by rising or descending into a layer of wind blowing in the desired direction of travel. By partnering with Telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum Google has enabled people to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices. The signal is then passed across the balloon network and back down to the global Internet on Earth.

When Google executives explained the feasibility of this program in India, it received appreciation on one hand, while others failed to comprehend how technical and security difficulties would be managed. Moroever, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had recently told Parliament that Google’s Project Loon will interfere with cellular transmissions of mobile operators in India.

“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,” Prasad had said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on December 11.

Pichai explaining the feasibility of the program said –

We always work with (telecom) carriers, we have tons of data to show that it doesn’t cause interference.

Marian Croak, vice-president of Access Strategy & Emerging Markets said –

That’s a discussion we’ve had with telcos around the world and we believe we have an answer to that around spectrum sharing and that we’ve solved that issue, in terms of sharing spectrum so that it doesn’t create impedance.

It seems that the project has now got the desired attention and Prasad has even proposed a partnership with state run BSNL for Project Loon.

Senior Writer

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