« Insights > Agribusiness / Agriscience

Rural Areas to Gain Internet Access via High Altitude Balloons

Admin | 12.08.2013

Raven Industries of New Zealand has announced a pilot project named “Project Loon” in partnership with Google to provide high-speed wireless internet access to rural, remote and underserved parts of the world.  Raven Industries will be designing and developing high-tech balloons to be used by Google to provide internet access.

Raven Industries of New Zealand has announced a pilot project named “Project Loon” in partnership with Google to provide high-speed wireless internet access to rural, remote and underserved parts of the world.  Raven Industries will be designing and developing high-tech balloons to be used by Google to provide internet access.

A successful trial was completed in New Zealand in June that involved 30 balloons provided by Raven’s Aerostar division to provide internet connectivity to an area covering nearly 10,000 kilometers.

The balloons are designed to be 60 feet tall and will fly at an altitude of 66,000 feet with technology to control the path of the balloons as they move through the sky.  The technology moves the balloons higher or lower as they sail on the wind traveling in the right speed and direction.  The control technology coupled with software developed by Google for managing a fleet of balloons is expected to provide a viable platform for providing internet access to rural and remote areas.

This project could potentially have a major impact on underserved parts of the Midwestern US and remote agricultural regions of Mexico.  Raven Industries has not provided any information as to when the balloons and technology could be available for use in North America.

Insights