Google Project Loon Refines Balloon Control

Since June 2013, when Google's Project Loon became public knowledge, Google has learned to project balloon trajectories twice as far in advance, while also getting 300 percent better performance out of the pump that allows the balloons to change altitudes.

That is important because the pump is what enables the balloon to change altitudes and catch needed air currents. 

Google is experimenting with balloons, as Facebook is testing drones and satellites, as ways to rapidly extend a minimum level of Internet access to billions of people in the Global South who do not, at present, have such access.

The exotic techniques are necessary because all existing methods of providing terrestrial Internet access cost too much, and take too long to deploy, if the assumption is that the intended user really cannot afford to pay enough to support the deployment of such networks.

As it was mobile networks that finally disrupted the older notion that fixed networks were how most people in the developing world would get access to telephone service, now the big application providers are looking for ways to leapfrog even mobile networks in an effort to make a big breakthrough in Internet access.

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