Feeds

Hey, operators... 'member our edge-of-SPAAACE interwebs balloons? Help! - Google

That whole licensing international spectrum thing ... er, not so much

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Having failed to license spectrum around the globe, Google is now talking to mobile operators to make its Loon project work.

Loon is Google’s attempt to provide internet connectivity in rural areas through, er, balloons sent up to the stratosphere.

The revelation came in a presentation from Google X labs' Eric "Astro" Teller at a Techcrunch event. Naturally connectivity is essential to Loon, and but even for Google the idea that it could buy harmonised spectrum was unrealistic.

Teller explained that Google had initially thought it would be essential to the project, but that it is now working on the approach of licensing the balloons to telcos as they float over the territory of that telco. It is believed that this will take place at LTE frequencies.

Using LTE will be something of a challenge as the networks are currently architected not to send signals into the stratosphere, and having something which does suddenly drift over will make for a horribly complicated radio planning problem. This won’t be so bad in the rural areas where Loon is designed to make a difference but if it floats over a major conurbation, it could have a massive impact on frequency re-use.

This will be one of the things for the nasty nitty-gritty negotiations Google will have to enter into with the mobile phone networks. It will be an interesting balance between what the networks want to charge for bandwidth – having paid lots for spectrum – and what Google wants to charge to the unserved target market.

Teller argues that rather than license the spectrum from the telcos, Google will license the balloons to them. This raises several questions, not least of which is why a rural customer would have an account if they don’t have any connectivity when the balloons are not around.

There are other options, companies such as Jasper Wireless understand the process of selling wholesale bandwidth and roaming internationally. Loon is a fantastic and ambitious project with great social good motives.

But putting it in the hands of avaricious emerging market mobile phone networks might show that the substantial technical issues are less challenging than the political ones. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.