Google’s Project Loon is an ambitious plan to float internet into the life of anyone who is currently without. But after a series of setbacks, the service is finally going to be tested by carriers this year.
Re/code reports from the annual TED conference in Vancouver that the project has come out the other side of a troubled stage stronger than before. With tweaks to the design, the balloons can now be made more cheaply but still navigate accurately—in fact, one balloon is said to have travelled around the world 19 times in 187 days last year.
Carriers have been involved with the project for a while, though the system has never been tested properly on consumer networks. Now at a stage where it can provide a 15 Mbps connection, Google is partnering with carriers in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and beyond and it hopes to test the aerial networks in anger with these real-life carriers some time this year.
This may yet work.