Google confirms balloon did not crash

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Says looking forward to additional testing as two more expected in coming weeks 

Google has confirmed the first Project Loon balloon, which floated into Sri Lanka’s stratosphere on Monday, did not crash but was landed as planned.   

Google Vice President and Project leader for Project Loon Mike Cassidy notified Information Communication and Technology Agency (ICTA) head Muhunthan Canagey.  “We just completed a Project Loon LTE connection test from one of our balloons to our tester’s devices on the ground in the southern part of your country. Following the test, we landed our balloon via slow descent to a rural area in Gampola in coordination with Sri Lanka air traffic control, as usual. 

Thanks for all your help in this first test in Sri Lanka; we look forward to additional testing,” noted the short statement. 

Two more balloons are expected to reach Sri Lanka in the coming weeks. Following tests the Sri Lankan Government is expected to assist in deploying the technology countrywide. 

Colombo has said it would take a 25% stake in a joint venture with Rama, a company backed by Sri Lankan billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, to deliver a high-speed Internet service. Rama is expected to use the services of Project Loon to roll out Internet services around the country in collaboration with Google, according to the state-run Information Communication and Technology Agency.  

The Sri Lankan government isn’t investing capital in the joint venture, but will take the stake in return for allocating spectrum for the project. However, an additional 10% stake of the proposed joint venture will be offered to existing telephone companies.

Under Project Loon, service providers are expected to access higher Internet speeds and improve the quality of their existing service.