Despite Google’s reported partnership with telcos, the search giant’s Project Loon balloons failed to take off due to the controversial spectrum band chosen by the company. And receiving a fresh slap, the government of India has asked it to submit a fresh proposal for consideration.
The project, which is Google’s attempt to replace transmission towers and ensure that connectivity reaches even the most remote and obscure corners of the earth with human habitation, has already been tested in various countries including, New Zealand, California (the US) and Brazil.
Under this project, Giant Google balloons floating almost 20 km above the earth surface will be used for the provision and transmission of Internet services. A single balloon has a range of around 40 KM diameter and will be relying upon the 4G (LTE) technique to reach customers.
Google India had initially approached the government to begin testing, however, its proposal was rejected and it has now been asked to submit a fresh one.
As per Central Telecom and IT minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad,
The matter was discussed with all stakeholders and it was concluded that frequency band 700-900 Mhz to be used in the pilot test of Project Loon is being used by cellular operators and if the pilot is carried out it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions.
Meanwhile, Deity, Ernet India, an autonomous body under the Telecom Ministry that has been allocated 60 MHz spectrum, is also busy testing. The organization is carrying experimenting with the utilisation of TV white space for establishing Internet connectivity in Gram Panchayats.
The current Government stance though, will come as a surprise, considering that it had reportedly received an “in-principle” approval of sorts from the Indian Government.
The whitespace signals, which are part of the spectrum that remains unused while transmitting broadcast signals, are similar to Wi-Fi but have a much deeper penetration power and wider coverage. Along with Deity, various IITs have also been allocated spectrum, in order to facilitate research and innovation.
Well, while Google’s balloons may have run into trouble before takeoff, the Indian Governments request for a fresh proposal is a certain indication, that the interest in the scheme is not one sided. Meanwhile, provided Google can work its way around a lot of difficulties that almost always accompany a new technology, we may just have its balloons providing us with uninterrupted Internet connectivity.