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[Wired] Google blimps to carry wireless signal across Africa

post #1 of 31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wired 

The company is intending to finance, build and help operate networks from sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia, with the aim of connecting around a billion people to the web.

To help enable the campaign, Google has been putting together an ecosystem of low-cost smartphones running Android on low-power microprocessors. Rather than traditional infrastructure, Google's signal will be carried by high-altitude platforms - balloons and blimps - that can transmit to areas of hundreds of square kilometres.

Source

Very cool. I can't wait to see the outcome of this!
    
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post #2 of 31
Blimps powering the infrastructure? Sounds...interesting. And strangely plausible.

I wonder what the uplink would be? Satellite? Or from Europe would it be beamed from blimp to blimp and repeated?

Very interesting proposition.
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post #3 of 31
And I remember proposing something like that earlier in another thread! biggrin.gif

This could be great though. Serves to show that Google is serious about becoming a leading force in the ISP market.
post #4 of 31
Stupid idea, someones going to shoot at it... just for laughs.....
    
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post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elis View Post

Stupid idea, someones going to shoot at it... just for laughs.....

confused.gif

It'll probably be out of range of most weapons... Even just 5280 feet up (1 mile), there's plenty of signal strength to reach the ground and a very large surrounding area. They are listed as "high altitude" which unofficially refers to anything above 8000 feet.

I doubt they would be downed by anything except for a surface-to-air missile strike or a combat-aircraft.
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post #6 of 31
I wonder what the lifespan of the balloons/blimps would be. You would think it would need some sort of propulsion system to keep it in a designated area with enough fuel to last a year or more. The material and electronics costs I'm sure are nothing compared to the service they will be providing. Speeds will likely be similar to internet over the old cell towers. It works and will be amazing to third world countries and much needed for navigation if you end up losing GPS for whatever reason.

Next thing we know, the African pirates will send a man up to a balloon, pull it down and demand ransom. Meanwhile, Google just launches another $100 balloon to replace it thumb.gif
 
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post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angrybutcher View Post

I wonder what the lifespan of the balloons/blimps would be. You would think it would need some sort of propulsion system to keep it in a designated area with enough fuel to last a year or more. The material and electronics costs I'm sure are nothing compared to the service they will be providing. Speeds will likely be similar to internet over the old cell towers. It works and will be amazing to third world countries and much needed for navigation if you end up losing GPS for whatever reason.

Next thing we know, the African pirates will send a man up to a balloon, pull it down and demand ransom. Meanwhile, Google just launches another $100 balloon to replace it thumb.gif

Especially if these would be flying above typical cloud heights, solar would be very viable.
post #8 of 31
Blimps, really? Wow, that's impressive! In my mind I can't help but see this working well for Google and in the future.
post #9 of 31
Now if Only google can send one of those Blimps over to where I am. tongue.gif
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post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elis View Post

Stupid idea, someones going to shoot at it... just for laughs.....

And probably sell the parts for food considering how most of Africa kids die of disease and malnutrition, way to go google for really stepping up to the plate to give people what they really need.
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