Thursday, 5 June 2014

Google to Invest More Than $1 Billion in Wireless Internet

By now, you are probably aware that Google has no interest in just remaining the world's top search engine.  It wants to be the world's largest and most comprehensive technology company with operations spanning multiple sectors.  Therefore, it is no surprise that the company plans to invest more than US $1 billion in covering the entire globe with wireless Internet access capability.

One of Google's first forays into wireless Internet came by way of the 2010 funding of Greg Wyler's O3b Networks Ltd. Now Google and O3b are planning to fund a new company known as WorldVu Satellite Ltd, with the intention of purchasing and deploying 180 satellites capable of providing global wireless Internet access.  The project has already deployed four satellites; four more are scheduled for launch next year. Google and O3b hope to have WorldVu Internet service ready to go by 2019.

The satellites take advantage of a lower orbit and the Ku-band spectrum now already used by telecom companies.  Their biggest challenge is to find a way to make sure their broadcast signals do not interfere with others using the same spectrum from a higher orbit location.

If that's not enough, Google is also working on two other projects.  It recently purchased Titan Aerospace in order to get its hands on the company's advanced drone technology.  A Titan Internet drone can stay aloft for up to five years using only solar power.  The company hopes the Titan will be the first commercially manufactured drone to be used for wireless Internet.

Lastly, Google is also looking at the concept of using high-altitude balloons combined with technology from Titan Aerospace.  The ambitious project has been dubbed 'Project Loon' by Google.  It believes that the high-altitude balloons could be the future of inexpensive high-speed networking because the technology can be deployed very quickly and inexpensively as compared to satellites.

The Wireless Future

When you stop and think about what Google is trying to accomplish, it makes complete sense given the rate technology is advancing.  Satellites, drones, and high-altitude balloons can deliver Internet access nearly anywhere in the world without the need for expensive infrastructure.  For example, deploying balloons would allow remote areas of the African continent to have Internet access without the need for building an entire fibre-optic network.

As the world gets smaller, companies like Google are finding new ways to reach people who might otherwise be unreachable.  The advancement of wireless technology is making it all possible.  Perhaps we are only a few years away from being completely encircled by a vast net of satellites, solar powered drones and high-altitude balloons – all providing high-speed Internet access to anyone with a capable device.

Obviously, there is also the issue of making sure the people you are trying to reach have the devices to make use of the Internet, nevertheless we suspect Google will be working on that shortly as well. Between Google Chrome computers and Android handsets, we suspect Google already knows how it is going to connect everyone.

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