A year after Google’s plans for Project Loon became public, the company says plans to offer Internet access to rural areas via balloon are on track. In fact, leaders of the project recently said in an interview that they should be able to offer LTE data connections in “one or several countries” within the next year.
Google aims to create a fleet of 300 to 400 balloons that can circle the earth at an altitude that’s two times as high as commercial planes, and stay up for 100 days or more. In fact, the balloons have already traveled more than 1.5 million kilometers and circled the world in only 22 days, a world record. The Internet speeds from the balloon are 22MB per second to ground antennae, a 5MB per second to phones. The service is aimed at poor, rural areas, but it may also generate revenue by doubling as a roaming plan for users with a little more money.