How Loon and AT&T Will Use Balloons to Extend Internet Access to Areas Following Natural Disasters

By:  |  Category: Blog Friday, May 15th, 2020  |  No Comments

A large silver balloon floating 20,000 meters into the stratosphere, the “first time that the balloons have been officially launched with a view to providing a commercial service in partnership with a local operator.”

Commercial service? Provided by balloons? Yes, 4G network coverage to a wide geographical area.

Remember, these are not your typical balloons.

This partnership begins with Alphabet company’s Loon, teamed with AT&T to provide “internet connectivity through its high-altitude broadband balloons over disaster zones.”

The Loon system has been integrated with AT&T’s network to service customers quickly if there was ever an instance that caused “traditional communications infrastructure (to be) unexpectedly wiped out.” Let’s hope that doesn’t ever happen, but how awesome is this technology!?

These balloons are already being tested over Kenya after a 7,000 mile journey from Puerto Rico and Nevada, “flying on air currents and automatically guided by machine-learning algorithms, which take into account the drift of stratospheric winds and weather forecasts.” 

Loon’s goal is to provide internet access to entire world, especially those who reside in even the most remote areas. Kenya will become Loon’s first 4G customer once the entire fleet of balloons arrive. 

Because Loon’s system was integrated with AT&T, it extends to global roaming partners and can service hundreds of operators around the world without conducting specific network integrations.

Each balloon covers an area of 50 miles and can serve 1,000 customers using an LTE connection.

So far, Loon has deployed their balloons to several disaster sites including Puerto Rico in October 2017 after the devastating hurricane Maria, Northern Peru in 2017 after the El Nino floods, and again in Peru in 2019 after a magnitude 8.0 earthquake.

Now “approved to fly over 50 countries and regions around the world” there is also talk to add ground installations in the Caribbean “in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season.”

That old excuse that you had no internet connection? Yeah, that’s not going to work anymore.

Need help with your network connection and IT managed services? Give EnhancedTECH a call at 714-970-9330 or contact us at [email protected].

  • Emmy Seigler

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/alphabets-loon-partners-with-at-t-to-extend-network-coverage-during-disasters/?ftag=TRE-03-10aaa6b&bhid=28837826891618282212917048574090&mid=12822003&cid=2176732464

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/loon-sends-internet-connection-balloons-to-kenya/ar-BB132uFA

Image Source: https://www.canva.com/design/DAD8Fg1rW8w/UaZNymP_bzJuZbNOhNuqqQ/edit?category=tACFajEYUAM

Samantha Keller
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