An ambitious project to create giantballoons flying at an altitude of 18 km in the stratosphere and broadcasting the Internet at speeds comparable to 4G, developed by Alphabet subsidiary Loon, is closed for economic reasons due to poor payback.
Project Loon started by Google in 2013year and was aimed at bringing the Internet to isolated, hard-to-reach, agricultural areas around the world. It was envisaged that the Internet would be broadcasted mainly for countries with weak economies, unable to provide the population with access to the network. According to Google, the potential number of users should have been up to one billion people.
However, it was economic reasons that led tothe closure of the project, which was announced on January 21, 2021. Despite significant engineering achievements (the creation of balloons capable of autonomous flights up to 100 days), the company was unable to achieve a positive economic effect, which led to the termination of work on the project.
The main problem that affected the lowthe economic efficiency of Project Loon is the low paying capacity of the population of the countries for which the project was designed. Citizens of such countries do not have the financial ability to purchase a computer and pay for an Internet connection.
Meanwhile, during the work on the project there weresignificant technical advances have been made. Thus, the coverage of the mobile Internet from one balloon was up to 11,000 square kilometers, which is 200 times higher than the coverage of a mobile tower.
The results of the Loon project will not be abandonedand can be developed with funding from large telecommunications companies. So in Kenya, Loon services will be used until March 2021. Also, the country will continue to operate the Project Taara project, which allows broadcasting wireless Internet based on a light beam at a distance of up to 20 km.